Malawi Nurses Demand Government Help Them Get Jobs

Blantyre, Malawi — At a rally Friday in the southern city of Blantyre, unemployed nurses called for more jobs and gave Malawi’s president 14 days to help them find new opportunities for work.

Frank Kamwendo, the chairperson of concerned nurses, said the demonstrations were a last resort after several meetings with Malawi government officials.

“We have been trying our level best to discuss with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of local government to recruit more than 2,260 nursing officers,” said Kamwendo. “Unfortunately, these ministries have been telling us that there are no funds for recruitment.”

Kamwendo said the nurses have also tried in vain to get the government to help them work in other countries.

Thousands without jobs

Government statistics show that Malawi has about 3,000 unemployed nurses and 160 vacant positions for nurses in public medical facilities.

Last year, Malawi’s government stopped a plan by the National Organization of Nurses and Midwives that could have helped some 2,000 unemployed nurses find work in the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Ministry of Labor authorities said the organization has no legal mandate to export labor.

Shouts Simez, the president of the National Organization of Nurses and Midwives in Malawi, told VOA that there are now positive signs that the situation will soon be better for unemployed nurses.

“I am happy to share that the approach has changed now because now it’s from the Ministry of Labor to the Ministry of Trade and Industry,” said Simeza. “So, the Ministry of Trade and Industry is looking at exporting services. Nursing is one of the services that can be exported.”