Malawi Midwives horne skills in ‘citizen journalism’: Ready to tell own stories

About 30 midwives across the country have been equipped with citizen journalism skills to help them write and report their daily work experiences for the public to see the correct picture of their tireless efforts of saving lives and prevailing working conditions.

Midwives

Midwives

The initiative championed by the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe motherhood is headway in uplifting the Malawi midwifery profile and documenting the outstanding work which mostly go unnoticed as they are only featured highly whenever they make a mistake.

Speaking on Wednesday to the Midwives being trained as Citizen Journalists, Parliamentary Chairperson for Health Committee, Juliana Lunguzi said this is a great initiative and challenged the midwives to write real time stories which legislators will find useful when challenging Government on problems facing the health sector.

“It will be good that you will give us real time information which we can present and challenge right there and then in parliament.” She said, and continued “We should have human life interest stories so that people should know the reality of issues on the ground.”

Later in an interview Lunguzi said legislators wants frontline health workers who can tell exactly whatever is happening at each and every health centre so that  they can respond quickly and at the same time help people know real situation in the hospitals.

Hon. Lunguzi also observed that most people only speak bad things that midwives are doing, she therefore emphasized that the trained citizen journalists must “really write good stories” that highlights real untold positive stories that midwives are doing in the country.”

“Not everyone is doing bad things.” Added Lunguzi

Prof. Address Malata, Vice President for the International Confederation of Midwives, and Acting Vice Chancellor for Malawi University of Science and Technology, who also spoke to the training citizen journalists, emphasized that midwives must take lead in advocating for the good work that midwives are doing in the country.

“This is a good initiative” she said, “We need to advocate for midwives who are doing good and commendable job but their success stories are rarely published in the media. So it is good that now midwives are doing it for themselves and therefore a lot of stories that are happening every day must be told.”

The former Principal for Kamuzu College of Nursing, Malata praised the Midwives in the country and described them as hard workers, committed and life savers who are working in an environment with little resources.

Lennie Adeline Kamwendo, Board Chairperson for White Ribbon Alliance for Safe motherhood said the initiative intends to give another side of the story about midwifes who are perceived as people who commonly spew insults to their patients.

“We thought that it will be best if midwives themselves will tell their stories about their experiences, about their work, about what they do, and also speak on behalf of patient that they care for. So, these stories will be more meaningful and more accurate and stories that are real.” Said Kamwendo

She also mentioned that this initiative will further help develop the health sector as the stories will be presenting the prevailing working environment of midwives.

Kamwendo stressed that midwives have the right to tell their stories and experiences adding; “it will be best if the people who are concerned about the story report it themselves than someone else doing it for them”

Most of stories narrated by some of the citizen journalists Midwives are so moving but have never been published in the conventional media.

Some stories includes; a midwife using own pocket money to buy fuel for ambulance in order to help the patient ferried to a referral hospital, a single midwife attending to 18 deliveries while working overtime.

Another midwife giving own blood to patient while another midwife also helped survival of a newly born whose twin had died due home delivery complications by quickly rushing to  a nearby secondary school to get blood donors from whom their blood was drawn and used to save that baby.

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