In the early months after the first coronavirus case was registered in Malawi, health workers, who had inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE), were afraid of contracting the virus. They were often subjected to stigma from the general public as people felt they would contract the virus from the health workers. Margret Tulisha’s experience was no different. She works as a community midwife assistant at Lulanga Health Centre in Mangochi district. Margret did not let these challenges affect her work, which is common among many health workers, especially those in the nursing profession who consider theirs as a ‘calling’.
When Amref Health Africa, through the Government of Canada-funded COVID-19 response project, brought handwashing stations to Margret’s health facility she felt safer, not only for herself but also for the women she helps at the maternity ward and their newborns.
“These handwashing stations will help a lot. We are encouraging the women to be washing hands as well as wearing face masks as we assist them so that they should not contract the coronavirus. These handwashing stations are particularly good because they are non-touch handwashing stations which means women are protected from infections at the point of use,” Margret says.
To help prevent the transmission of COVID-19, the project is providing handwashing stations in health facilities as well as conducting community education on measures to slow the spread of the virus, including wearing masks and maintaining physical distance. Sixty health facilities have so far received handwashing stations. The project has also installed handwashing stations at public markets. These measures will help flatten the curve and slow the spread of the coronavirus in Malawi.