St John’s College of Nursing and Midwifery in Mzuzu has decried massive withdrawals among nursing and midwifery students, fearing this will further reduce the number of midwives in the country.
St John’s College of Nursing and Midwifery principal Shouts Makumbo Simeza said this during a media tour of midwifery colleges and maternity hospitals organised by White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood on Friday.
He said only 38 students at his college are assured of scholarships out of 69 due to donor pullout as their projects have come to an end..
“The donor freeze has forced most students to be paying out of their pockets, leading to withdrawals because they are failing to [cope],” said Simeza.
White Ribbon Alliance national director Nancy Kamwendo said while communities have responded positively to government’s call for women to deliver in hospitals, it is discouraging that most facilities have few midwives who are overstretched in most cases.
“The midwives are working under stress. This at times affects their attitudes,” she said.
Kamwendo added: “Government promised us that it will recruit more midwives and it recruited some last year. But we still have many out there not yet recruited.”
According to a 2016 White Ribbon Alliance study, the country has 3 233 midwives against the required 23 637.
The recommended WHO standard is one midwife for every 175 childbearing women.
The survey shows that Mangochi, for example, has a population of 803 602 against 103 midwives, translating to one midwife for every 7 801 childbearing women.
The findings further show that the shortages increase the midwives’ workload, who work an average of 58.2 hours per week against 40 normal working hours per week.