At the apex of lack of drugs in Malawi’s health facilities, some women are being sutured without being anesthetised.
Chinguluwe Health Centre in Ntchisi is among public health facilities struggling with perennial problems, including lack of medical equipment and drugs.
During her sleepover at the facilicity on Thursday, WaterAid Malawi country director Mercy Masoo was saddened by what happened to Brenda Manuel who, after delivery, was stitched up without any pain-relieving medicine, as there was none.
“The medicine, Lignocaine, finished on Tuesday and women are still giving birth. There’s no option but to suture the wounds without any medication,” explained community midwife assistant, Martha Njinga
Prior to the chilling experience, Masoo and some of her staff, who included men, toured the facility to appreciate challenges pregnant women face there.
“I have witnessed what I never thought would happen; a woman gives birth and gets sutured without pain-relieving medicine. On top of that, after giving birth in the night, she waited for the morning to bath because there is no water inside the clinic. This is despite the original plan of the facility having a bathroom as well as taps. What is needed is pumping water into the clinic.
“As my sleeping here is to raise funds for the facility and others in the district, I would like to ask well-meaning Malawians to contribute the little we can so that at least we have water inside the clinic, apart from helping with other present challenges,” she said.
At the time of the tour, there were nine pregnant women with one new-born against the eight available beds, forcing some of the women to sleep on the floor.
Best described as pathetic, the delivery room has two beds with torn mattresses which during peak times, result in babies being born on the floor. The risk of babies and women picking infections is also high as the facility also battles with sterilisation.
With a catchment area of about 22 500 people, Chinguluwe Health Centre has two nurses, two medical assistants and one senior health surveillance assistant.
According to one guardian, Veronica Sini, there is an urgent need for water at the facility.
“Pregnant women and guardians have to fight with villagers for water from the nearby borehole. Villager’s argument is that, the government does not repair the borehole when it breaks down while the community contributes money for its maintenance. The best way is for the hospital to have its own reliable source of water,” she said.
Through her sleeping over at the health facility, Masoo targets to raise K20 million as well as raise awareness in the run up to this year’s Mother’s Fun Run slated for October 8.
The Fun Run is a fundraising initiative by Nation Publications Limited and its partners. Proceeds from the initiative go towards providing public hospitals and their statelite facilities equipment that ensures safe motherhood. n