Britain to Screen Malawians Seeking Health Jobs for HIV, Other Diseases
June 2, 2003
The British High Commission in Malawi announced Saturday that all Malawians seeking to work for Britain's health system would have to undergo a rigorous health screening process, including an HIV test. In a statement, British High Commission Press Officer Michael Nevin said London may start screening potential health workers for what he termed "serious diseases" to avoid transmission of communicable diseases from health workers to patients. AIDS is one of those communicable diseases, Nevin said.Adapted from:
New rules about testing are under consideration in Britain for all new workers for the Britain's National Health Service workers, not just those from Africa, according to Nevin. "Additional health clearance for blood-borne viruses will be needed for new health care workers who will work with exposure-prone diseases," Nevin said in the statement. Sub-Saharan Africa has 70 percent of the world's AIDS infections. According to available statistics, at least 15,000 health workers are recruited into the British National Health Service from overseas, including southern Africa.
The new policy may bring some relief to the embattled health sector in Malawi, which loses hundreds of its staff, especially nurses, to Britain's health system every year. Stigma runs high against AIDS in Malawi and most people here -- including those in the health sector -- are wary of voluntary HIV tests. At least 14 percent of Malawi's 11 million people have HIV.
05.31.03; Raphael Tenthani