Health service delivery has been facing a lot of challenges in Malawi ranging from inadequate facilities, inappropriate infrastructure, shortage of medicine, equipment and staff to actually do the work.
While some lives have been spared, some have been lost due to the distances the sick are subjected to when they want to get medical attention.
In some cases, nurses and doctors’ negligence and rude attitude towards patients have pushed some of sick relatives to an early grave.
But the question of what it can take to make the health sector reliable again lingers in the hearts of many who have had to withstand the uncalled for treatment from some health workers.
Pamela Masoka, 29, is one of the noble women in the country who keeps the interests of people at heart.
With her career in nursing and midwifery, she is geared up to support those in need of health services through her newly opened Nthambi Private Clinic in Area 43, Lilongwe which among others is offering maternal and child health services.
She says: “I have had the passion to help those in need whilst I was little and opening up a clinic has always been one of my dreams. Today, I sing a new song knowing I have managed to fulfill it.”
After completing her secondary school education from Bambino Private Schools, Pamela decided to study accounting at the Malawi College of Accountancy while waiting for her University of Malawi entrance examinations results in 2007.
After a long wait and at the same time becoming a woman of numbers, she was selected to study Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Midwifery at Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN).
“After graduating, I had the privilege to work with the Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) for a while before attaining a Master of Science in Public Health scholarship in China. While serving as a nurse, I observed a lot of things from my colleagues.
“Some of them were harsh and rude towards patients and this really hurt me. Sometimes I had to report to officials to talk to them, but nothing was happening and I must say I didn’t enjoy my job knowing that some fellow nurses were abusing patients,” says Pamela.
She adds that the motivation to become her own boss and possibly turn things around in the health sector came from the experience and observation she had witnessed from other nurses at her work place and other hospitals.
After returning from her master’s programme, Pamela joined the shipping business where she among other things thought about bringing in medical equipment for her future clinic.
“I started procuring medical equipment little by little because I really wanted to own a clinic. So I opened two clinics in Areas 25 and 49, but they were based on partnerships.
“Unfortunately for us, things did not work and we ended up going our separate ways. but this did not demotivate me. I had to fight and stay on my feet.”
Her every day words are that “for one to enjoy doing something, it should come from deep down their hearts.”
Pamela knew she needed a medical background if she were to complete her mission and live in her vision.
She says a lot of young people still stick to white collar jobs when they have the capacity and capability to turn things around for others.
“It begins with us and one great move by one individual can bring change to the whole community. At Nthambi, there will be services that will be offered for free and some at a very fair price because I know that not everyone can afford to pay for health services,” says Pamela.
Commenting on issues of child and maternal health, Pamela says it has been a great challenge for Malawi despite making strides most especially in reducing maternal and neonatal deaths.
Says Pamela: “We need to do something as health personnel. Let us strive to save a woman’s life and it should not be a daily talk that hospitals are losing women during child birth.”
Pamela elaborates that if hospital staff are friendly and treat people with respect, it could be a first step to making the health care system in Malawi better again.
“Nthambi will offer the best services and it is our motto that our services speak for us. We would like to make people know that health service providers are still good.
“We have employed professionals and we believe in them that they will do their best in serving the people with zeal and integrity. Quality health services are what we aim to achieve and we will achieve what we desire,” adds Pamela.
Speaking of aspiration and inspiration, Pamela has always looked up to her mother as her biggest motivator saying she is one woman who has always encouraged her to push harder and fulfill her dreams.
She adds: “My mother is my best friend. Whenever I felt down, she always pushed me and told me I can achieve anything in life. This clinic is my dedication to her as she is the pillar of my life.”
From the proceeds of her shipping business, Pamela was able to start procuring materials for her clinic, her long time desire and her mission.
This is an indication that whatever challenges the youth might be facing, there is light at the end of the tunnel and with hard work, everything is possible.
“One can be a vendor, but have the passion to bring change in the health sector which for long has been facing hiccups and only if more people are to engage themselves in providing the services maybe some of the challenges can be eradicated.
“We need to join forces and if partnerships do not work, let us not fold our hands and let the dream slide, let it be the beginning of a new chapter and try to do things alone and help change our nation’s face when it comes to health service delivery,” she says.