Malawi needs more highly qualified nurses and midwives at hospital bedsides actively attending to patients, Health Minister Jean Kalilani has said.
“As a ministry, we are looking forward to seeing more nurse midwives with masters’ and PhD [doctorate] qualifications working at the bedsides in our health facilities, which will improve the mentorship of junior nurse midwives, hence [improve] overall service delivery,” Kalilani stated.
The minister said this in Lilongwe on Friday when she presided over the launch of the Doctor of Philosophy in Inter-Professional Health Care and Leadership Programme for Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN), a constituent college of the University of Malawi.
The event, at Bingu International Conference Centre, preceded a related event—the 14th and 15th Inaugural Lectures by professors Address Malata and Ellen Chirwa of KCN’s Faculty of Nursing in the Department of Maternal and Child Health. The two professors—who Kalirani hailed as having achieved the highest accolade of education by becoming professors—are KCN’s principal and deputy principal, respectively.
The PhD programme is being funded by the United States (US) President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS and Relief (PEPFAR), through the Health Services Administration and is implemented by Columbia University, through the Nursing Education Partnership Initiative Project.
Kalirani thanked the US government for partnering with the Malawi Government through various projects aimed at improving nursing and midwifery education.
She, however, pointed out that although government and its partners have trained more than 6 000 health workers, to add to the more than 10 000 nurses practicising in various hospitals in Malawi, the country is still facing an acute shortage of nurse midwives.
In her speech, US Ambassador to Malawi Jeanine Jackson said Washington is happy to help Malawi in personnel development in the crucial health sector and in efforts to curtail the spread and impact of the HIV and Aids pandemic.
“We are the largest donor of health in Malawi and we want to make sure that the collaboration [between the governments of Malawi and the US, on one hand and the Global Fund, on the other] really works,” she later told reporters.
The US provides a health aid package of $250 million (K100 billion) that serves all hospitals in Malawi in the provision of life-prolonging antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, other projects fighting the HIV and Aids pandemic and several anti-malaria programmes.