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What is required to retain registered nurses in the public health sector in Malawi?

Fresier C Maseko
Paul Msoma
Anne Phoya
Adamson S Muula
Kumbukani Kuntiya


Western recruiting agencies and countries has been blamed for the \'brain drain\' of medical doctors and nurses from developing countries. The increasing demand for skilled human resources and better remuneration of the developed countries coupled with the poor work environment and low remuneration of the developing countries militate against the retention of skilled human resources in the developing countries. Health professionals in the developing countries are also leaving the public sector in search for better remuneration in the private sector including non-governmental organizations within their countries. The massive loss of health professionals from the developing countries to developed countries has sometimes resulted in the developed countries of the world being blamed for the phenomenon. This questionnaire study was carried out in order to deter mine factors that may facilitate the poor retention of registered nurses in the Malawian public health sector. The results indicate that poor salaries, heavy workloads, lack of promotional opportunities and poorly resourced and equipped health facilities are a de-motivating factor for registered nurses and could resulting loss from the public sector. We argue that while western nations have a role to play in ensuring retention of skilled health workers in developing countries, developing country governments also have a part to play in improving the work environment and remuneration of their employees.

Malawi Medical Journal Vol.16(2) 2005: 30-32