British theft of African workers leaves health care and nurses close to collapse
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By News Team
While hundreds of thousands of British nurses leave the service because of low pay and terrible conditions, the theft of nursing staff from Malawi has brought that country’s already weak health care system to the point of collapse.
Nurses in the poor African country are being forced to work 32-hour shifts because so many of their colleagues have migrated to work in the UK and the United States. Dorothy Ngoma, executive director of the National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi, is justifiably angry that nearly 10% of her country’s nurses have already left.
“In some hospitals where they are short-staffed, nurses do a normal shift of 4 p.m - 8 a.m, then they do a second shift. They are exhausted.
“Sometimes nurses provide care for 50 to 100 patients on a shift. It is almost impossible to work like this.”
Under pressure from British nurses worried about their pay being undercut, and from African leaders desperate to stem the haemorrhage of trained staff, the Government has finally put Malawi on a list of countries that are out of bounds to Health Trust recruiters.
This, however, is little more than cynical window-dressing, because with so many poached Malawian nurses already over here, word-of-mouth recruitment of friends and relatives inevitably continues. Thus more and more children and invalids in one of the world’s poorest countries suffer and die, while British nurses face more and more competition, which helps target-driven Trusts hold down wages and impose ever-worse working conditions.