The National Organisation for Nurses and Midwives (NONM) has called on the donor community to speed up the process of opening aid taps to Malawi saying a lot of people have died due to the aid drought that hit the country since last year. NONM Executive Director, Dorothy Ngoma, said this Saturday at the official residence of Malawi’s first woman president and Africa’s second, Joyce Banda. “We plead with the donors to start sending their support to Malawi considering that a lot of Malawians have died due to the aid freezing,” she told donor delegations gathered at the house. Donors stopped supporting Malawi mid last year following poor economic and political governance by the country’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration. NONM is trying to drum up support for the continued supply of essential drugs and supplies in public health facilities following deaths by patients who could not access medical attention because of lack of drugs. This call comes two days on the heels of the death of the southern African nation’s president Bingu wa Mutharika who died of cardiac arrest and could not be helped at one of Malawi’s major referral hospital, Kamuzu Central Hospital.

NONM is championing the Human Resource for Health (HRH) campaign, an initiative aimed at retention of the country’s health personnel who because of poor working conditions have been crossing the borders to seek greener pastures. According to Ngoma, the HRH Campaign is lobbying for continued investment and priority funding to the health sector. In an earlier interview Ngoma said “ I have to acknowledge MPs support for students fee campaign that resulted in the allocation of funds in the National Budget towards training of nurses/midwives and other healthcare personnel, however more could be done in order to tackle vacancy levels in terms of worker population ratios against patients demands and impact on care. Malawi Health Equity Network executive director Martha Kwataine is on record as warning on the impact of drug stock outs. She said more deaths have been caused in Malawi because of the country’s shortage in the supply of fuel which also contributed to drug stock-outs. “Patients have even started losing confidence in the healthcare system,” she said adding, “Snap shot of drug stock-outs in selected health facilities showed that rural health centre, district and central health facilities are all equally affected by drugs and supplies stock-outs”. Meanwhile major Western donor partners who had been scorned at by the Mutharika administration after he had shifted his attention to the East for development support have been holding talks with Malawi’s new leader, Banda

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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