Malawi nurses body condemns attacks on frontline healthcare workers: ‘Hopes for justice’

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.

Simeza (middle) says people are falsely accusing healthcare workers of injecting coronavirus onto those that come to seek health services, and that people die because of this. – Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

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 Simeza

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Queen of Zamunda
Queen of Zamunda
2 years ago

Beating health care workers ain’t good at all koma nawonso they should watch their mouths

2 years ago

The problem is that media has come in today to comment on these issues. I think when such things happened you’re supposed to investigate and tell Malawians the truth about what happened for people to attack a specific ambulance. You let social media disseminate such information without any comment from media as a result people have no choices but to believe in what ever they see or read on social media. People are fearfully frightened with what is happening in hospitals “You talk to your friend today tommorrow you hear he/she is dead after being admitted” such deaths need clear… Read more »

2 years ago

Violence on healthcare workers is awfully bad but I think nurses need to take off uniform and move around in civilian clothes. It’s scary to sit next to someone wearing a uniform showing he or she was in contact with COVID patients. Moving in public wearing same clothes they wore while handling COVID patients. Are these nurses not spreading COVID coz it can stay on clothes for three day before it dies. Scary. Or please can you reasure us of our safety

2 years ago
Reply to  Patricia

This is a fact Patricia n in infection prevention is highly recommended not to wear the uniform ur using in wards to the public/when going home,mind set change needed among health workers

nafundo zalo
nafundo zalo
2 years ago
Reply to  Patricia

the funny thing i have seen in malawians is pride and showbiz. Imagine kwathu kuno fumbi lili thoooo plus matope koma kuona nyumba white painted. ikagwa mvula eish. olo ka glosale ka mmidzimu kukapaka white . mvula yoyamba basi nyazi. mbuzi kumakhukhuluzizika pa khoma basi midondolozi. Now I see our health workers in White all through kucoka kunyumba mpaka kumaliza shift then kuima ku shop kugula zinthu then kukwera ma public transport .kufika kunyumba kuyamba kuvala citenje then wa ku kitchen. komaso kuima kae kwa a neba. WE ARE NOT SERIOUS. KU Maiko akunja you rarely see this kind. there… Read more »

Samuel Chilenje
Samuel Chilenje
2 years ago

Kodi nthawi yonse ija mudalikuti. Mukubwera pano matendawa atatha. This calls for professional ethics. Risk allowance ndiyogwila kwa azungu osati ku Africa.

nafundo zalo
nafundo zalo
2 years ago

eh? doubling risk allowance. eyyyyyyt.
transport izikaenda pati ndi patu. mwina miseu ndi tinjila ta mmilaga kuti atulukile mu nseu.
poyamba pomwe munaika ma measures pa zipatala. proper guardship. security proper osati a security okudya patients food kapena omanyenga ma gadian.
had our hospitals had proper hospital then sime of these issues would have been bit less.
transport for staff would have been readily but WE LET
ALL misuse funds.
mpaka 86 cars!!!!

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