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Midwives: the unsung heroes of Malawi

I was part of the E4A Quality Institutional Care (QuIC) team which was conducting a study in Kasungu.QuIC study is aimed at checking how ready health facilities are to serve pregnant mothers either in the next one hour they arrive at the facility, the next month and how it was in the previous 24 hours and previous month of their arrival. During this study I appreciated the work the midwives are doing in the rural areas.

On this study we visited 5 government facilities and 2 Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) facilities. We were checking if the facilities have enough equipment, drugs and personnel to serve pregnant women at the facilities. In all facilities it was only Nkhamenya community hospital a CHAM facility which scored high. It had almost 90% of all the things we were looking for. In government hospitals the situation was a bit different though. One of the things the government facilities did no not have or rather do not have, are elbow gloves. These are used during the removal of retained placenta. With that problem, the midwives improvise to the normal gloves to do their job. The midwives go to an extent of buying bars of soap because government cannot provide or in other instances, the government is late in delivering these essential commodities.

Even though this is the case, the midwives in these facilities work in very difficult conditions with no or less support but they give their best and skills to save the lives. These I will call them, Unsung Heroes of Malawi who are not recognized in our country. These people put their lives in the line because of lack of equipment that can protect them from infections. To top it all, they are one of the lowly paid civil servants yet they spend their meagre salary to buy soap to serve the pregnant women better.

The midwives in these facilities work with little resources. The success stories of these people saving lives in the communities are rarely reported. It’s high time we started recognizing the noble job these midwives are doing in our country. We cannot talk about safe motherhood reducing maternal deaths and saving lives of our children without mentioning midwives. 

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