Nkhotakota district hospital bi-annual report on safe motherhood indicates 51 newborn babies’ deaths from July – December 2014; the problem has been attributed to negligence of medical personnel although the tendency is failing to die at the hospital.
Despite the increased infant death, a nurse (Name withheld) on duty in pediatric ward on Thursday March 19 -20, 2015, left a 6 year old boy unattended medically for two days to punish the child’s mother over disagreements.
The child’s mother, Magret Phiri of Malunda village in the area of traditional authority (T/A) Mphonde in Nkhotakota district, disagreed with a nurse after she was found eating Nsima with friends in the ward contrary to the rules.
The nurse confronted Magret Phiri and vowed not to give her child medicine until she apologizes to her.
Regardless Phiri’s apology to the nurse, that day ended without her child getting medicine while the rest in the ward were given medicine as prescribed by doctors.
Confirming the incident Phiri said, “This is not my first time to come here. Some few weeks ago my child was again admitted here. He got treatment without any problem.
“Imagine, all my friends here get medicine but only my child is skipped, she wants him to die. She even said she doesn’t care even if my child collapses. That’s total inhumane from a mother like her.”
The child’s medicine rights violation was revealed in the second day when a journalist from Nkhotakota community radio Edward Kuwacha with other stakeholders were conducting a general cleaning exercise at the hospital.
When the nurse skipped a third time to give drugs to a child, Phiri confronted the nurse to be referred to any nearby hospital for assistance. The nurse, who again refused, banged the door and left.
Edward Kuwacha who at the time was cleaning the windows at the ward, saw all the ordeal and went to hear what went wrong between the two.
After hearing Phiri’s side he followed the nurse to negotiate on the issue but amazingly he also became a victim as the nurse shouted at him and was told mercilessly to have exaggerated the punishment to the child as she won’t assist the soonest as planned following his intervention.
“She shouted at me like a child. I later advised the mother to neither meet the District Hospital Officer (DHO) or the matron but unfortunately both were not around,” narrated Kuwacha.
When hospital’s public relations officer Samson Mfuyeni listened to the recorded voice of a child’s guardian, he initiated an investigation to which the responsible nurse agreed of the disagreement but refuted the allegation that the child was not given drugs.
Although the nurse contradicted the responsible doctor, who wondered why the child was not administered as prescribed. To him this was violation of the order of prescription.
According to the public relation officer, the nurse has been just given a strong warning on the conduct since she is the first offender.
Commenting on the matter, Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) Chairperson Martha Kwataine described the situation as unacceptable and unethical which need to be discouraged at all cost.
She went on to ask the victim’s mother and the journalist to lodge a complaint to the Malawi Nurses and Midwifery council so that the nurse should be summoned and disciplined if found guilty.
Kwataine said, “Nurses shouldn’t take advantage of the less privileged people. The child has the right to seek appropriate medical attention at all times from government hospitals. A child should not suffer because of the sins of the mother.
“Please, lodge a complaint with the Malawi Nurses and Midwifery council, it should not end at hospital management level, this is a serious case.”
The biannual report which was represented last week indicates a total of 51 newborn babies died at Nkhotakota district hospital between the months of July to December of last year. Due to the problem in September last year, angered mothers petitioned the District Commissioner (DC).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :