Village women shun male midwife, prefer to give birth at home

By IAfrica
In Zambia
Aug 15th, 2014
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DR Chilufya (middle) explain how basic support systems operates in an ambulance to Chief Nabwala (right) during the handover of the facility to Nabwalya health center. Looking on is area member of parliament Mwimba Malama

DR Chilufya (middle) explain how basic support systems operates in an ambulance to Chief Nabwala (right) during the handover of the facility to Nabwalya health center. Looking on is area member of parliament Mwimba Malama

EXPECTANT mothers in Chief Nabwalya’s area are shunning Nabwalya Health Centre and delivering at home because there is only one qualified male midwife at the health facility.

This came to light when Deputy Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya handed over an ambulance, health kit and drugs to Nabwalya Health Centre yesterday.

Midwives are specialists in childbirth, post-partum, and health care. The term is used in reference to both women and men, although most midwives are female.

The women said they are uncomfortable giving birth in the presence of Anthony Mwandu, the only qualified midwife in the area.

“It is difficult to give birth in the presence of a male person, hence I prefer giving birth at home and just go to the clinic for post-natal care,” said Annie Mwamba, a resident of Nabwalya. Mr Mwandu is the only qualified midwife at Nabwalya Health Centre, which caters for over 13,000 people.

He said most health workers deployed to the area fail to cope because it is remote and appealed to Government to consider training local people as traditional birth attendants.

“I have managed to stay here because I was born here and I am happy to have served my community for the past 12 years. Others who come fail to stay for long because of the bad road network and there is no mobile network service,” Mr Mwandu said.

He also called on Government to consider opening up more health facilities in the area to decongest Nabwalya Health Centre.

Mr Mwandu, however, said Government consistently supplies the centre with drugs.

And Dr Chilufya commended Mr Mwandu for diligently serving the people of Nabwalya and that Government recognises his efforts.

He appealed to health workers deployed to rural areas not to leave because people need their services.

Dr Chilufya said Nabwalya Health Centre was meant to cater for a small number of people but the population has been growing.

He said Government has released K500,000 to expand Nabwalya Health Centre to include a maternity wing and a theatre.

Dr Chilufya also said Government plans to deploy licentiate medical personnel to the area.

The minister said upgrading of Nabwalya Health Centre will help to decongest Mpika General Hospital, which is over 160 kilometres away.

He also said the availability of an ambulance at Nabwalya Health Centre will strengthen the referral system to confront the high maternal and infant mortality rate.

“Creating access to quality health care as close to the people as possible is Government’s priority.

“People in rural areas have the right to have access to quality health care,” Dr Chilufya said.

And Chief Nabwalya is happy that Government is fulfilling its promises.
He said his subjects used to die of minor illnesses because the health centre had no ambulance.

Chief Nabwalya appealed to Government to consider upgrading Nabwalya Health Centre to a hospital to cater for the growing population.

“The chiefdom has a fastgrowing population but resources take very long to reach us because of the distance and bad road,” he said.

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