An unidentified expectant mother died at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe on Sunday night due to alleged negligence of midwives who were on duty.
Random interviews The Nation conducted on Monday at the hospital revealed that midwives did not attend to the woman in good time as she was about to give birth.
Three guardians of other patients said in separate interviews that they informed the midwife on duty about the deceased’s deteriorating situation but the nurse was reluctant to offer her services, a situation that led to the patient’s death.
Said one of the guardians: “I witnessed the death of the patient. When she asked for help through a relative, the nurse on duty shouted at the woman for bothering her. She came later after some time passed, only to find the deceased had collapsed.”
In an interview, Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango confirmed the woman died in hospital on Sunday night.
He said: “The ministry understands that there was a sudden unexpected death of a 36-year-old pregnant woman. Together with the DHO, we are in contact with the family of the deceased as we want to do an autopsy to establish the cause of death.”
But in a separate interview, Nurses and Midwives Council of Malawi (NMCM) executive director Dorothy Ngoma said the development is a sign of complacency in the health sector.
“It is unfortunate that the woman died when she was expectant. She went to the hospital to seek help but losing her life in that way is something that is regrettable,” she said.
Ngoma observed that the incident might have happened due to inadequate supervision of juniors health workers which leads to inefficient service delivery.
Although she blamed government for not recruiting sufficient midwives to work in hospitals, she also noted that such incidents are due to poor conduct of some nurses.
She said: “The nurse on duty might have been negligent, but we need to know where other service providers were at the time to help the one on duty.”
According to Ngoma, there are about 6 000 nurses and midwives in the country against the required 23 000.