Written by YAMIKANI SIMUTOWE
BLANTYRE—Lives of patients in the central district of Dedza could be at risk as health workers and support staff at the district’s health facility joined fellow workers in a strike effective today, Monday February 18, 2013.
The health workers say as civil servants they can't wait for the expiry of the 14-day ultimatum National Organization of Nurses and Midwives (NONM) gave government to join the strike.
NONM gave government the ultimatum from last Tuesday to respond to their concerns or else health workers will join the on-going civil servants strike in the next two weeks.
The health workers at the public health facility argue that they were employed by government not NONM, which among others, advocates and advance the interests of nurses.
Meanwhile, there have been reports of ugly running battles between the Malawi Police Service (MPS) and the civil servants who were this morning continuing with their peaceful sit in. (See photos with this story taken by our correspondent)
Also just coming in are reports that teachers in the lakeshore district of Nkhotakota have joined the strike vowing not to retreat until government addresses their grievances of better pay and conditions.
Dedza district is home to the leader of opposition, Hon J.Z.U. Tembo, while Nkhotakota is the powerbase of Hon. Chimunthu Banda, the speaker of parliament. Both are strong contenders for the party candidacy in the respective Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the former ruling Democratic progressive Party (DPP) respectively.
(additional reporting by Garvey Karvei)