By Brino Kayanga Mwale.
White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood (WRASM), a global network on maternal and new born health advocates, has bemoaned shortage of midwives and clinicians in hospitals across the country, a situation that puts lives of mothers and children at risk.
WRASM National Coordinator, Nancy Kamwendo expressed the worry recently in Dowa during a meeting with midwives and clinicians in the maternity ward to hear what they needed for them to provide quality care to women and new born babies.
Kamwendo said there were a lot of issues in the health sector which needed immediate attention to improve the health of mothers and new born babies.
She said after discussing with the midwives and nurses, it was found out that critical issues affecting the health workers were shortage of resources, including health care workers.
“There is critical shortage of health workers who do not have incentives. The available health workers have a lot of patients to attend to, and work for very long hours, but we expect them to provide quality care to our women and babies,” she said.
She said her organization was undertaking a project called Quality, Equity and Dignity by Care for Reproductive Maternal new born child and adolescent with the aim to advocate for increased midwives to beef up staff in health facilities.
Kamwendo said her organization wants midwives to have supportive supervision and mentorship so that they are guided in their job.
“We also want the Health Centre Management committees to be trained so that they effectively provide accountability which will help in the provision of quality care in health centres,” she said.
The WRASM coordinator said as a result of her organization’s advocacy, the Ministry of Health has already planned to make Midwifery an independent profession.
She added government has already started recruiting midwives and has so far promoted 1,300 nurse midwives, technicians and nursing midwifery officers to create vacancies on the lower cadres.
“Government has also purchased equipment through the African Development Bank (ADB) Fund which is being distributed to 49 health facilities,” she said.
In his remarks, District Nursing Officer for Dowa, Davie Machika hailed the meeting, saying it would help the midwives and clinicians to give the respect that the patients deserve.
During the meeting, participants observed that the health profession has, of late, been infiltrated by some recruits who have attitude problem towards their work, display acts of insubordination and incompetence, which affects delivery of health care.
According to Kamwendo, Malawi has 3, 420 bedside midwives, against 4.1 million women of reproductive health.