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Women’s demands more than double the number of midwives in Malawi

Thousands of women in Malawi asked for “more nurses and midwives” when we asked how to improve their health. This was not surprising; in 2016, the number of 3,573 practicing midwives in the country was dangerously below the number needed, according to the World Health Organization. 

Supported by evidence and women’s demands, local organizations and midwives’ associations advocated tirelessly with the Ministry of Health, Parliamentarians, and the President to recruit and retain more midwives. In response, these policymakers not only became champions of midwives—they also walked their talk. 

In 2020, at an event celebrating the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the President of Malawi praised nurses and midwives as “national heroes” – then issued a directive to hire more than a thousand healthcare workers, mostly nurses and midwives. 

I want to be attended by midwives.

I want respectful and quality care from trained ethical midwife.

From 2018-2021, the government of Malawi recruited 3,959 additional midwives—more than doubling the number of practicing midwives in 2016. The Ministry of Health also created a new leadership position, Chief Midwifery Officer, which is being rolled out in Malawi’s Central Hospitals. This new position is giving motivation to midwives to join and remain in the profession. 

It is very important for policymakers to listen to the voice of the people. If you want to tackle issues with women, you want to assist women—you listen to them. That is my advice—listen to the needs of our people, and especially our women and girls.

Honorable Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, MP
Malawi Ministry of Health

The health workers and midwives are now responding to the needs of women.

Margret, Community member
Chitipa district

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