Nine newly born babies die in three months at Nkhata Bay hospital

Nkhata Bay: As government is promoting safe motherhood, things are not rosy at Nkhata District Hospital as nine newly born babies have died in three months since January, 2018.

An inside source said told Malawi News Agency (Mana) Sunday that four women also died due to pregnancy related complications during the period.

On the night of April 16, alone, three newly born babies died at the hospital, the source said.

The source alleged that poor management of clients and recklessness among health workers are some of the reasons causing deaths at the hospital.

Nkhata Bay District Health Office (DHO) spokesperson Christopher Singini denied the allegations.

The nitty grits about the possible contributing factors to neonatal deaths are only established after a proper neonatal death audit, which is yet to be done, he pointed out.

Singini said care of newly born babies is being affected by frequent electricity blackouts.

A notable challenge that directly links to the care of neonates is the blackouts we are facing, which affect oxygen supply both from cylinders and the plant.

During blackouts the plant malfunctions and affects oxygen purification. And we don’t have enough oxygen concentrators even if we might have electricity, the spokesperson explained.

He said PACHI and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine have come in to assist with the audits as well as monitoring recommendations that are made during the audits.

They will also assist with procurement of some essential supplies and equipment. Three people in maternity ward have so far been trained in care of infants and the newborn, Singini added.

He viewed that his office is prioritizing procurement of fuel for generators among other things.

Singini bemoaned shortage of health workers at the hospital a situation which he said is compromising patients’ care.

Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) Executive Director George Jobe said they are saddened by the news of neonatal and maternal deaths at the hospital as the country is now encouraging mothers to deliver at health facilities.

We are saddened with the news especially now that there is promotion of safe motherhood where mothers are encouraged to deliver at health facilities and not at traditional birth attendants, he lamented.

Jobe said when mothers lose life at health facilities it becomes very bad and one would wonder where mothers should turn to.

These issues need to be avoided now. They are talking of understaffing, we cannot achieve safe motherhood with inadequate staffing, he said.

The Executive said there is need to ensure that Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) does not disconnect electricity lines to hospitals.

If Escom’s constant supply is not possible, there is need for special allocation of funding for fuel of generators at health facilities so that the country does not lose people due in times of blackouts

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA