Some nurses and midwives in Malawi’s health facilities have been promoted two times without receiving salaries corresponding to their present grades a development that is affecting quality of healthcare.
One such nurse is Ellenarta Samson of Dowa District Hospital who was transferred to the facility from Mponela Rural Hospital in April, 2018.
Ellenarta Samson has from October 2010, 2013 and 2018 been receiving letters of promotion to Senior Nurse Midwife Technician but government up to this date has failed to honour her with salary to the present grade but she only receiving annual increments.
She claims to have been forwarding her concerns to the Human Resource Management office (HRM) and making follow ups of the same but only to be told verbally that her claim will be fulfilled by the Treasury.
The nurse said two weeks ago she made another follow up to the HRM to find out if the Treasury had released something good for her claim, only to be told to wait, which has always been the song has been.
Samson believes there are many like her in the health system who are suffering in silence and some are being intimidated that they will be transferred from their duty station to the remotest areas if they continue to put pressure on the authorities with their concerns.
The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Malawi (WRASM), one of the health rights organisation advocating for more number of midwives in the health facilities has bemoaned this as it is coming at a time when government has not fulfilled its commitment of recruiting and retaining at least 25% more midwives.
White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Malawi country coordinator, Nancy Kamwendo, appealed to nurses and midwives to voice out their concerns because people out there are only looking at their negatives for news publication while clapping hands when five babies are born over one night with no complications to the mother and newborn and the news ends there.
Kamwendo said issues of no toilet, concentrators, BP machines in the labour ward need to be made public for others to come in and assist.
She said nurses and midwives technicians are subjected to working for long hours with only 3,420 practising ones in Malawi while the members of the general public are expecting them to provide quality care.
The country coordinator said Malawi need additional 20,000 midwives to meet WHO’s recommended ratio of one midwife to every 175 women of reproductive age.
She said currently, one midwife is for 4,000 women giving example of Kasungu District Hospital where one is for 8000.
White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood is advocating for an establishment of a professional pathway for midwives to be reviewed as an essential incentive.