Happy ending! That is the feeling of Emily Joseph, one of the women sent back from Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre on Sunday due to health workers’ strike, after delivering a baby boy following a Caesarean section at Thyolo District Hospital.
Joseph, who had her mother-in-law Mary Mang’anda as a guardian, was denied entry to Gogo Chatinkha Maternity Wing at QECH by nurses because healthcare workers at the referral hospital were on strike demanding the revision of risk allowance and provision of personal protective equipment, among others.
She then travelled about 45 kilometres away to Thyolo District by public transport to seek assistance at Thyolo District Hospital the same day.
In an interview yesterday, Thyolo district director of health and social services Dr. Arnold Jumbe said both Joseph and her newborn baby were in stable condition.
“The operation was very successful and if all goes well, they will be discharged after five days because both the mother and the baby are fine,” he said.
In a separate interview, Joseph said she is in stable condition. She said she was excited that her baby was in good health.
Joseph, a mother of three—two boys and a girl, was booked to undergo an operation on Monday at QECH, but was denied access to the facility due to the strike.
Following publication of her story on the front page of The Nation of April 20 2020, a well-wisher, a Malawian of Asian origin who does not want to be named, asked for her whereabouts.
The well-wisher wanted to take her to a private hospital in Blantyre and pledged to give her and the baby all the support they needed, saying it was disheartening to see how patients, especially pregnant women, were being treated at QECH during the strike.
Meanwhile, the well-wisher has given Joseph K40 000 as a starter-pack and pledged more support.
During the strike on Sunday, The Nation witnessed about 18 pregnant women being sent back by healthcare workers.
The strike ended on Tuesday following an intervention from Ombudsman Martha Chizuma who met hospital management and staff representatives.