Nurses and midwives at Mwanza District Hospital have gone back to their duties after a four day sit-in. This follows an assurance from Ministry of Health officials to resolve their grievances.
The nurses and midwives laid down their tools from Tuesday to Friday last week demanding the transfer of the District Health Officer (DHO) Ralph Piringu and the District Nursing Officer (DNO) Agnes Mtonga from the hospital accusing them of ill-treating the nurses and failing to provide basic working equipment.
They claim the hospital is facing a lot of challenges such as shortage of staff, food shortages for patients, lack of basic nursing tools such as writing and cleaning materials due to poor management.
The nurses have however, given the ministry two weeks to settle their grievances failing which they will resume the sit-in.
“They have promised us that they will deal with the issue in two weeks time and we have decided to respect that but, if we see that nothing is changing after the stipulated time, we will lay down our tools again,” said one nurse who opted for anonymity.
The nurse was upbeat that by the end of two weeks a decision will be reached regarding the matter.
Last week Tuesday, the striking nurses, hospital management, officials from the ministry of health and the National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi (NONMM) failed to reach a consensus when they met to discuss the issue.
But according to the nurse, no meeting has been held since then between the concerned parties but discussions are going on through phone calls.
Commenting on the matter in an earlier interview, Nonm executive director Dorothy Ngoma called on the ministry to resolve the issue by making sure that the demands of the nurses are met.
“The ministry must employ more nurses so that these current nurses are not over worked, and if they were forced to work on locum hours they have to be paid their locum allowances. I have no idea where government will find money from but these issues need to be resolved,” she said.
According to Ngoma, the problem of not having enough resources on the ground is greatly affecting service delivery in the country’s health facilities and government must find ways of ensuring such institutions are prioritised even in the course of financial challenges.