Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Followup on Nurses at Dae-Yang-Luke Hospital

Two corrections: Last month I was told--and wrote--that most of the 17 nurses who had left Kamuzu Central Hospital since April had gone to work at Dae-Yang-Luke Hospital, which I described as a private hospital run by the Korean church. That accurately reflects what I was told but the information was wrong.

Today I spoke with Abigail Bonongwe, the matron at Dae-Yang-Luke who tells me that just two nurses have come to the hospital from Kamuzu Central--not seventeen. Furthermore, and this I should have realized from the outset, Dae-Yang-Luke is not a private hospital but instead is part of the Christian Health Association of Malawi. Staff salaries are paid for by the government.

Indeed, DYL Hospital has made a concerted effort not to recruit nurses from government hospitals, focusing instead on those working at non-government organizations and who are recent graduates of nursing schools. In other words, they're actively working to address the internal brain drain, not make it worse.

Double-checking what you've learned is one of the hallmarks of journalism. It has taken me this long to get to Dae-Yang-Luke to verify what I was told earlier last month. This is why most of my blog posts are labelled "notes" and not "news."

Individual notes are often the results of conversations with single sources. Over the course of my posts, I am testing different ideas, trying to get at the facts. By the time this gets written up into a published piece, I will have a pretty good idea of what is solid and what is shaky.

I try to identify as much as possible in my blog posts what needs further verifcation but in this case I should have been more explicit and stated that it would take me a while to get the other side.

That's also why I encourage comments so that we can all learn as much as possible about the facts of any situation. Hoarding information, not sharing what you know--including your mistakes--is very 20th century. We're creating a new medium and a new, hopefully more responsive way of reporting the news.

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