Nurses in Malawi on Tuesday celebrated the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife (IYNM) in the middle of a challenging working environmental with Covid-19 pandemic, urging the general public to celebrate and recognise them not as unsung heroes but as professionals who deserve the respect of all society and are worthy of descent wages and protection.
Marking 200 years since the birth of Florence Nightingale and the birth of formally recognized nursing and public health, the United Nations World Health Assembly resolved to celebrate nurses and midwives by declaring 2020 as the IYNM.
The day celebrates the contribution that nurses make to societies around the world.
Addressing the media in Lilongwe, National Organization of Nurses and Midwives (NONM) president Shouts Simeza encourage people to take part in a moment of reflection to honour the memory of nurses and health workers who have tragically died during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Malawi, some nurses and healthcare workers have been exposed to the pandemic with the recent updates indicating five healthcare workers amongst the confirmed cases, amid government reluctance to provide enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the frontline workers which has resulted into several strikes.
Among other constraints facing nurses and midwives, Simeza cited investments and funding towards health, discrimination, shortage of nurses and midwives, public compliance to Covid-19 prevention measures as well as universal health coverage (UHC).
“The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated how vital public health workers are to our survival, the crisis has been made worse by years of under-funding of public health systems. While the healthcare industry is one of the largest growing industries globally, public funding for vital public health services is failing to meet needs,” he said.
Simeza said health systems would not have been so unprepared for the pandemic if they had been adequately funded.
He urged government and stakeholders to increase sensitization and awareness with political leaderz as well as community leaders in villages, markets, and bus stations to embrace behavior change and consider popularizing use of cloth-face masks for the general population in places of xloufd and large gatherings.
Simeza said PPE, risk allowances, accommodation, transport for nurses and midwives, recruitment, purchase of uniforms, scholarships and promotions remain their priorities for government to act on.
“Houses for nurses and midwives should be in the vicinity of hospitals or other designated places, hostels for newly employed nurses and students on clinical placement should be constructed, conside utilizing Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) mechanism and ensure affordability or low cost rentals once nurses or midwives inhabit the houses,” he said.
Folowing current public stigma for the nurses due to Covid-19 pandemic, Simeza said government should purchase buses for the five central hospitals for transport to and from work place, provide stand alone vehicles to transport health workers in the districts as well as provide loan facility or employer-guaranteed loans to enable health workers buy cars to ease transport problems.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :