Safe Motherhood coordinator Ngoma still at NONM, forging ahead!

It has been some weeks since President Mrs. Joyce Banda fired former First Lady, Callista Mutharika from the position of Safe Motherhood cordinator, where she was pocketing over MK1.3 million on top of government expenditure on her position as late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s wife.

Callista was replaced by executive director at the National Organisation for Nurses and Midwives (NONM), Dorothy Ngoma, who was a strong critic of the Mutharika regime on health rights.  Nyasa Times reporter Patricia Masinga wondered what was happening in NONM since her appointment, and what she is now up to in her new role, and sought clearance from the organisation.

Ilyaas Itimu, NONM’s Media Consultant and Human Resources for Health (HRH) Coalition Fund’s project coordinator based in Lilongwe answered the following questions from Nyasa Times.Excerpts.

Ngoma: Safe Motherhood cordinator

 NT:Who is Dorothy Ngoma’s replacement?

Mrs. Ngoma was on a contract at NONM. According to her  Terms of References she has to serve her three months notice before she resigns from NONM. Apparently, Mrs. Harriet Kapyepye is the one who plays the role of her deputy and acts whenever Mrs. Ngoma is out of her work station. So on the question of who takes over, that will be taken care of after the three months cited.

 NT: What is the new discourse at NOHM, will the new leader stand up strongly to nurses’ rights?

NONM has a policy and strategies that are managed as a organisation. On what happens after Mrs. Ngoma is out of NONM is neither here nor there. As a union, it will continue with its role minus Mrs. Ngoma.

NT: With the devaluation, and the problems that nurses and midwives are facing in terms of poor perks leading to brain drain in the industry, how do you feel this will be levelled at your organisation?

As a union, NONM will maintain its role of lobbying and advocating for the welfare of the nurse/midwife whilst considering interests of the patient. Almost all the nurses/midwives have been affected by the devaluation.


NT: How many nurses/midwives are there in Malawi and what percentage is heavily affected by the devaluation?

Malawi has about 8,000 plus nurses/midwives. The figures keep on changing as they include deaths, retired staff and those in training colleges. However, Malawi trains almost 2,000 in a year.

 NT:. Can you say if you also take care of nurses in other colleges including those under the Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM), and what role is your organisation playing in meeting their ‘hefty’ schools fees problems?

NONM has membership of nurses/midwives in public, private, CHAM facilities, Malawi College of Health Sciences, Kamuzu College of Nursing, thus student nurses/midwives who register with NONM are our responsibility as it is a membership driven institute.

NONM is the only trade union in the health sector and continues to offer support on the area of Human Resources for Health together with its coalition partners, i.e. fee hike campaign is one of NONM’s success stories.

 NT: What picture can NONHM portray of the future of nursing/midwifery in Malawi?

Considering the recent developments, the future of nursing/midwifery is bright in Malawi as long as the political will is there from government and the society at large.

 NT: Anything else you may share on NOHM and perhaps the first critical matters Ngoma is handling in her new position?

Mrs. Ngoma’s role at Safe Motherhood programme is to coordinate issues of safe motherhood on behalf of the Head of State. As a lobbyist and activist, she will continue lobbying and advocating for better resources in the interest of the health care workers and the community at large.

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