Photo Source: NHS
A representative of the group Maria Francisco, who graduated as a Community Midwifery Assistant, said she and her fellow graduates are all ready and willing to work in rural areas to help the government in the quest to reduce maternal deaths and save the lives of as many babies as possible.
“A lot of efforts have been invested in our training. If the government does not employ us, all this effort will be in vain. There are no private maternities in rural areas, people rely on government. We are ready to work even in rural areas that is what we were trained for,” she noted.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the guest of honour, acting Deputy Director of Nursing and Midwifery Services in the Ministry of Health, Mrs. Lucy Mkutumula, said government is committed to employ all the graduates once they pass interviews either in government or in health facilities under the Christian Health Association of Malawi, CHAM.
“The recruitment plan has already been submitted to the relevant authorities and there are numerous vacancies requiring more than the numbers that are being produced,” said Mkutumula.
Mkutumula however informed the graduates that recruitment modalities in government have changed and that now unlike before when they were employed straight from school, the graduates will have to undergo interviews before being employed. This, she said, is meant to deal with ghost workers who find their way into the public health service system.
Mkutumula urged the nurses and midwives to uphold their professional ethics and values that they have learnt during training. “I am aware that the general public has been complaining about the conduct of some health workers including nurses and midwives. Nursing and midwifery are noble and caring professions, you should therefore give safe and timely care to your patients and clients at all times as guided by the professional ethics that you have learnt at this college.”
Acting Principal for Trinity College of Nursing and Midwifery Fanny Stevens said the college was proud to graduate such a large number of nurses and midwives. Stevens asked the graduates to work hard out in the field just as they did in class and to be good ambassadors for Trinity College of Nursing and Midwifery.
However, Stevens noted the shortage of staff at the college, appealing for support from government and all stakeholders. “The government is our main sponsor and has been assisting us in many ways that ensure teaching and learning is possible. Trinity College is hard to reach because of its geographical location. It is for this reason that it is difficult to retain staff,” she said.
Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) Training Manager Mrs. Grace Soko, said the organisation is proud to have such a huge number of nurses and midwives graduate at once like this. “Our hope is to have as many students as possible graduate in nursing and midwifery, so that the patient-health worker ratio continues to decrease in the country especially in rural areas,’ Soko said. Soko also noted the challenge in terms of the number of staff at Trinity College and indicated that as CHAM they are exploring ways to address it.
Meanwhile, at the ceremony, Trinity Hospital was also appreciative of the continued support from partners from CHAM, USAID, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), the Ministry of Health and the management of Nsanje district hospital. CHAM Training Manager Soko also expressed gratitude for the continued support of partners of CHAM in training nurses and midwives in Malawi:
- 56 Nursing and Midwifery Technicians (NMTs), were sponsored by the Centres for Disease Prevention and Control CDC, and a few by the government through the Ministry of Health.
- All of the 25 Community Midwifery Assistants (CMAs) graduates were funded by USAID through World Learning.
The group of 83 nurses and midwives is the largest to graduate from the college since it started in 1964. Its first graduating class consisted of only 2 students.
Trinity College is one of 11 colleges within the Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM).