Midwives demand decongestion of Malawi hospitals: ‘Social distancing not enough to protect us from Covid-19′

The Association of Malawian midwives (AMAMI) has demanded decongestion of public health facilities to ensure the safety of midwives is guaranteed by maintaining social distancing amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Midwives celebrating their day in Lilongwe–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times
Midwives observing a minute of silence in remembrance of the fallen midwives–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

Speaking during this year’s commemoration of the International Day of the Midwife in Lilongwe on Tuesday, AMAMI president, Dr. Ann Phoya, also demanded that adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) should be provided in order to prevent infection and transmission.

“Physical distancing is crucial in preventing the spread of Covid-19. But our hospitals are overcrowded with some patients actually sleeping on the floor, a situation which is compromising the safety of our health workers and the sick. It is high time health facilities created additional spaces,” said Phoya.

She, however, could not provide elaborate suggestions on how government can decongest public hospitals in light of the inadequate and not so reliable health system, which is characterized by tiny, dilapidated and poor infrastructure.

Nevertheless, the AMAMI president went on, bemoaning the lack of welfare and protection for midwives in the hospitals.

“Honestly, the situation is not fine at all. We expect employers to improve. Midwives need a safe working environment so that they are not afraid to go out there to save lives amid the Covid-19 pandemic. We do not want expectant mothers to suffer because midwives are afraid to go to work,” said Phoya.

The commemoration drew together key stakeholders in the health sector including United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), World Health Organization (WHO) and Nurses and Midwives Council of Malawi–who shared similar sentiments.

Phoya, while commending the current recruitment of 2000 health workers, asked government to employ even more staff especially midwives, saying, that number is actually a drop of paint in a sea particularly amid this Covid-19 crisis.

According to her, vacancy rates in the health sector remain glaringly high–60 percent for midwives and 47 percent for other health workers.

In her remarks, the UNFPA Country Representative, Won Young Hong, concurred with Phoya, adding that the Covid-19 crisis is an opportunity for all stakeholders to do more to support midwives efforts to uphold the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all women, everywhere.

“Now more than ever, we must take action to recognize midwives as steadfast champions for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. Let us unite for and with midwives to prioritize and protect women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, even in these difficult times,” said Hong.

The commemoration was heard under the theme; Celebrate, Demonstrate, Mobilize and Unite for a Common Goal: Support Midwives to Save Lives.

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nafundo zalo
nafundo zalo
4 years ago

ali busy kupanga masamu ama allowance.
zoona mu zipatalamu alibe nazo maso

4 years ago

This woman called Dr phoya worked for so many years at the highest level in ministry of health what did you do to help the midwives ur talking about today. Talking of infrastructure it’s a long term plan which we can not rely in the wake of the pandemic. Kungoyankhula kuti anthu akutameni apa.

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