This is a response from a concerned Nursing student to remarks by Ministry of Health Principal Secretary McPhail Magwira who was quoted in a Malawi24 story last week telling nurses to ‘jack up’ and find their own jobs saying government is not ready to employ them.
It has become trendy for Malawi’s working class to push unemployed graduates towards entrepreneurship. Statements like ”you have to think outside the box,” targeted at new graduates facing unemployment challenges have become the order of the day in this country. But the big question is: ”which box should new graduates think outside of?”
The reality on the ground is that the outside of the whatever box being referred to is as harsh as its inside. Medical graduates are the ones being hit hard on the subject. Government had all along been the primary employer of medical graduates trained within Malawi. Why should the trend change now when their need in the public hospitals is still very high?
Getting straight to the point I intend to drive home: Malawi Government through Magwira, had, in my view, uttered a statement void of any logic by asking newly graduated nurses to consider entrepreneurship.
Where will these graduates get resources to start-up businesses in a poor nation like Malawi? And which Malawi private hospitals can manage absorbing all these graduates Malawi produces? It can only be labelled unfortunate and retrogressive for a government in a country experiencing an unbearable shortage of health workers to release such a statement.
How can Malawi develop if our government does not work to achieve and sustain a healthy nation by strengthening its health system? It all boils down to poor leadership manifested by greed and self-centeredness.
It would carry sense for the likes of Magwira to become entrepreneurs and leave civil service employment room for upcoming graduates. Magwira must be over 50 years of age. He has made enough money working in government that he can open up his own hospitals and employ the new medical graduates.
Sadly, self- centeredness is what drives people like him. I must say most Ministry of Health top officials are there to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor, and not to improve our health care system.
They only think of fattening their already fat pockets, with their huge salaries and allowances. Fearing displacement by the up and coming, these officials frustrate new graduates, especially those with better papers than them – a case of College of Medicine laboratory graduates who have stayed over 3 years at home. It all takes the country nowhere or at best to hell.
It is surprising that donors and other stakeholders are not helping enough in these situations; maybe their input is misdirected and later abused. Malawi’s health system is in tatters for lack of enough and qualified health personnel. We are far below the minimum required standards health service wise.
It is my appeal to the government and stakeholders to intervene if the health of the large population of Malawi is a serious concern.