Malawi’s hospitals are in trouble and patients will suffer most as nurses have decided to boycott work after their normal working hours because the Ministry of Health has refused to their allowances called ‘locum’.
The nurses justified their demand because of the recent devaluation of the Kwacha. The central bank devalued the Kwacha nearly to 50 percent.
Already there was trouble on Thursday at Kamuzu Central Hospital as nurses refused to work in the paying ward and Ethel Mutharika special ward forcing management to close them.
There was only one nurse in the labour ward and there was only one midwife on duty on the night of Thursday. Only one theatre operated out of the four.
Patients complained for not receiving attention from the nurses but one of the nurse said they had no choice but to boycott overtime duty because their ministry had refused to increase the allowances.
“We boycotted work and that will continue. We know the consequences of our action but have no choice because the ministry does not consider our plight. The devaluation has hit everybody hard including us and we simply asked them to increase the locum and they are refusing. We shall only work during the normal hours and that is all,” the nurse said.
A mother in the labour ward complained, “I called out for help yesterday but there was no nurse around to help me. I delivered without a nurse nearby thanks to other women who were around,” said the patient.
KCH director Dr. Noorden Alide was not available to comment on the matter. Ministry of Health spokesperson Henry Chimbali asked for more time to respond.