US investment aids recruitment of 365 health personnel

Agness Zimba Lab Technologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital

At the end of September 2022, 365 health care workers joined the Malawi civil service health sector courtesy of the United States investment and collaboration with the Malawi Government and the Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM).

The following are the cadres that were recruited and are being absorbed by the Ministry of Health mainstream system: 167 Nurse Midwife Technicians, 71 Clinical technicians, 52 Lab Technologists, 50 Health Surveillance Assistants, 12 Lab Technicians, 11 Pharmacy Technicians and 2 Lab Assistants.

A statement from the US Embassy says the health personnel will continue providing HIV/AIDS treatment, care and prevention services including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), antiretroviral treatment (ART) and education in Ministry of Health and CHAM facilities across the country.

US Ambassador to Malawi David Young indicated this is part of Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)’s plans to help build the country’s workforce capacity and achieve sustainable impact.

“Absorbing these healthcare workers into the mainstream workforce shows the Government of Malawi’s strong commitment to expediting progress toward an AIDS-free generation.  “Malawians living with HIV will continue to receive high quality care thanks to our continued collaboration.” said Ambassador Young.

David Young
Young: Malawians living with HIV will continue to receive high quality care thanks to our continued collaboration

According to the Secretary of Health, through the Deputy Director of Laboratory Services Josephy Bitilinyu-Bangoh, the quality of laboratory services in the facilities will continue to improve with the skills imparted to the laboratory personnel.

 “There won’t be viral load backlogs and staff burnout as a result of staff shortages,” he said. 

CHAM Executive Director Happy Makala described the project and the transition as a huge success.  

“The PEPFAR-supported health care workers have long played a significant role in improving HIV service delivery in our facilities.  Losing them at the end of the project would have been a big setback. We are grateful to all stakeholders who worked tirelessly to ensure the sustained availability of qualified workers to perform this critical work.” 

One of the beneficiaries Sarah Banda a lab technologist at Dedza District Health office

Lisa Kachere is a nurse who works in supporting the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) partnership at a clinic in Blantyre.

She expressed her excitement at the prospect of joining the civil service.

 “Firstly, I am happy that PEPFAR afforded us an employment opportunity. Secondly, I am happy that the government agreed to absorb us.  I am a national trainer of PrEP providers and I want to continue supporting efforts to eradicate HIV/AIDS in Malawi.” 

Since 2016, the U.S. CDC through PEPFAR has received close to $13 million dollars annually to support the recruitment and salaries of 365 health care workers in six (6) districts: Blantyre, Lilongwe, Zomba, Chikwawa, Mangochi and Machinga.