Nurses at Mwanza District Hospital have entered day two of sit-in after 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 an agreement when they met to discuss the issue Tuesday evening.
The nurses laid down their tools on Tuesday morning 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.
In an interview, Mwanza District Hospital spokesperson Dikilani Chadza said nothing had been agreed in the Tuesday evening meeting but discussions will continue.
He however assured the general public that services at the hospital are running as some members of staff are working.
“Let me underline that the strike is by nurses only and services at the hospital are running even though not as expected but we are trying,” he explained.
One of the striking nurses, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they still maintain their stand that the DHO and the DNO should be transferred from the hospital and will not agree to any negotiations.
He said representatives from the ministry who they had a discussion with on Tuesday have promised to present their grievances to those responsible at the ministry.
“We will continue with the sit-in as we wait for the ministry’s response to our request, as of today (Wednesday) we have not had any meeting,” said the nurse.
In an earlier interview, another nurse claimed that for a long time now, the hospital management has been intimidating the nurses, force transferring some over petty issues, the tendency she said has led to over-working on the side of the remaining nurses.
“They are issuing transfer letters to nurses they have issues with including those working in health centres to the extent that the whole district has less than 40 nurses now. We are tired of working as slaves,” she said.
The nurses said they decided to venture into a sit-in after several discussions with the hospital management but nothing was changing.
But Piringu denied the allegations in an interview Tuesday.