Shortage of Health Workers in the Malawian Public Health Services System: How do Parliamentarians Perceive the Problem?*|
Muula, Adamson S.
The quality and quantity of health care services delivered by the Malawi public health system is severely limited, due to, among other things the shortage of adequate numbers of trained health care workers. In order to suggest policy changes and implement corrective measures, there may be need to describe the perceptions of the legislature on how they perceive as the cause of the problem, which could be the solutions and an evaluation of those solution. In this paper, I present the finding from a qualitative study of Hansards (official verbatim record of parliamentary speeches) analysed by discourse analysis. Parliamentarians identified the shortage of health workers as resulting from death, retirement and brain drain to other countries mostly the UK, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Training more health workers, training new but lower cadres of health workers not marketable to the outside world, improving the working conditions and remuneration of health workers are suggested as some of the solutions. Even without the brain drain of health workers to other countries, Malawi's health sector personnel numbers are not adequate to serve the needs of the country. Relying on training more health workers in the numbers normally produced from the prevailing training institutions is unlikely to remove the shortages.