President of the Association of Malawian Midwives (AMAMI), Dr Anne Phoya began her speech at the celebration ceremony of midwives in Malawi by describing conditions under which midwives work in Malawi as pathetic.
“Last Monday, I was travelling along Lilongwe – Salima Road and stopped at a certain clinic along the road. I did not find the midwife but within a few minutes she came in with a pail of water on her head for cleaning tools in the labour room,” Phoya narrated.
She was speaking Thursday during the commemoration of the International Midwifery Day held at Masintha Ground in Lilongwe.
Phoya said the midwife told her that there is no running water and no electricity in the clinic. As such, she collects water herself from a nearby well for use in the labour room.
The Amami president told the gathering that there are many other stories of that nature all over the country compromising proper delivery of health services in the country.
She also pleaded with the government to properly look after midwives so that they can work hard in taking care of the mothers and babies of the nation.
“A happy worker is a hard worker, when a worker is taken care of and is happy, she will work hard,” said Phoya.
Responding to a question, before the function, as to what she made of their celebration amid failing health systems in the country, Phoya explained that their organization is doing everything possible by discussing with Malawi government on how to improve lives of health workers.
“As I am speaking, we have agreed with Government that the controversial issue of nurses who have stayed long without being placed in health facilities after their graduation will be employed by next month, June,” she disclosed.
Speaking on the sidelines of the function, Juliana Lunguzi, Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Health, who attended the function, expressed dismay at the state of health services in the country, saying government is still failing to employ nurses it trained.
“Up to now government is failing to employ nurses it trained and yet cries are all over that there are not enough nurses in the country, sad,” Lunguzi complained.
She said: “As we are celebrating the role of midwives in our lives, the general outlook of our health facilities is in a sorry state, no medicine in hospitals, caregivers not properly taken care of and many other shortfalls.”
Lunguzi requested government, through the Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Health, to make it mandatory that all health facilities in the country must have running water and electricity.
In his speech, Principal Secretary for Health, Dr Mac phalMagwira, said the Ministry is aware of the challenges the health sector is facing but assured the stakeholders that whenever the Ministry receives resources it always puts priority on making life of health workers better.
He also reminded the health workers that they must always remember that their job is special and not like other jobs.
“Your job requires love, empathy and dedication,” Magwira reminded the midwives, “Being a midwife is a calling”.
The theme for the celebrations in Malawi this year is:“Mothers and Newborns, the Heart of Midwives.”
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