Ministry blames doctors on maternal deaths


Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume has attributed high rate of maternal deaths to lack of coordination and ‘I do not care attitude’ among medical practitioners.

Speaking during the opening of a medical course organised by Wirral University Teaching Hospital of England in collaboration with the College of Medicine and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital on Sunday, Kumpalume said there are enough skills among doctors and midwives regarding care for women during child birth but the challenge is coordination and poor attitude.

The minister mentioned that for surgeries to be successful, doctors, midwives and nurses ought to work as a team.


Kumpalume highlighted that his ministry has identified several factors leading to high maternal mortalities the country is experiencing. Among them, he mentioned lack of harmonisation in the way nurses, doctors and midwives ply their trade in hospitals. The minister stated that he discovered that in most hospitals, a team handling a shift leaves the work place without handing over to the next group responsible for the next shift.

“As a ministry, we are on the right track in as far as reducing maternal deaths is concerned but there is more to be done especially bringing back coordination and the zeal among the medical practitioners. We hope that the attitude will change with time as we continue interacting on the same. On our part, we are doing our best to ensure that doctors, nurses and midwives are getting training to build the capacity,” stated Kumpalume.

The course comes following reports that biggest challenge Malawi faces is lack of well trained practitioners giving care to women at different stages of pregnancy and child birth.


According to statistics, Malawi has one of the highest maternal mortalities in the world. Unicef estimates that 680 out of every 100,000 women die as a result of child birth and its complications.

Mark Doyle, an obstetrician and gynaecologist from Wirral University Teaching Hospital, explained that his team is committed to assist in training doctors to become experts in caring for women during labour.

“We started this project in 2012 and we will continue giving training to junior doctors considering that Malawi is still struggling to end maternal deaths. This is the only way for them to build confidence and become best in what they do because we are teaching them how to do caesarean section and other operations to women during child birth,” said Doyle.

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