The National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi (NONM) has condemned escalating incidences of social media attacks on nurses, midwives and other healthcare workers due to false rumours surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
The attacks prompted the organization to hold a press briefing in Blantyre on Saturday morning where NONM president, Shouts Galang’anda Simeza, disclosed that some of the healthcare workers are facing discrimination when using public transport to and from their various work places on allegations that they spread the virus to the public.
Simeza said some people are falsely accusing healthcare workers of injecting coronavirus onto those that come to seek health services, and that people die because of this.
“This is not correct, and we would want to edit this thinking among Malawians – this is not true!” he emphasized.
Still, some Malawians are reportedly demeaning, belittling, undermining the nurses and midwives as if there is nothing that they know and can do in the wake of service – right versus scope of practice while others are literally launching physical assaults of innocent frontline healthcare personnel.
Simeza was referring to a nurse at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) who was recently molested and physically assaulted by a group of guardians of a patient admitted to the hospital.
The nurse fell victim in her line of duty as she was trying to control human traffic in the ward as one of the Covid-19 precautionary measures only to be roughed up by those whose lives she was intending to protect.
NONM is challenging this case in court and Blantyre Magistrate Court will start hearing the case this coming Monday, 08 March 2021.
Simeza has since called upon nurses and other healthcare workers to come together in solidarity to offer moral support to their colleague, stressing that it is the sincere hope of NONM that by the end of the day, justice will prevail and that those behind these barbaric attacks to innocent healthcare workers will face the long arm of the law.
The NONM boss further condemned the merciless beating and hacking of an ambulance driver in Machinga District whose only sin was to ferry a dead body from the hospital to the village of the deceased.
Another ambulance driver was almost killed when the community suspected that he had carried an empty coffin for burial.
“These and many other similar incidences have created an atmosphere where healthcare workers are now living dangerously in fear, anxiety and mental distress as the intensity of risk and abuse they are facing perpetrated by the public do not seem to be decreasing. When nurses and other healthcare workers discharge their duties under stress and fear, the whole purpose of providing quality health care services is compromised. This is so because the aggression, verbal abuse, and hostility unleashed upon them negatively affect their safety, morale and job satisfaction,” emphasized Simeza.
He said it is even more worrying that the abuses are happening when the world is celebrating the 2020 year of the nurse and the midwife, which is extending into this 2021 (year).
He reiterated that the health sector is the riskiest of all the sectors lined up in the battle against the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is therefore an insult of the highest order to expect the very healthcare workers who have already sacrificed themselves to serve those infected with coronavirus to be subjected to the aforementioned abuses. We would like to ask government and other employers for commitment to support nurses and other healthcare workers during these difficult times including provision of transport to and from work. Consider doubling the risk allowances!” emphasized SimezaFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :