Malawian nurses urge media to provide more balanced coverage of the profession
In late October 2021, the Nyasa Times reported that the National Organization of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi had hosted a media workshop to improve relations with the press. The group’s leader Harriet Chiomba urged journalists to change their focus on a small number of problematic nurses and do more to highlight the positive contributions of the profession.
October 30, 2021 – Today Watipaso Mizungu had a piece in the Nyasa Times reporting that a Malawian nurses’ organization had hosted a media orientation workshop at a hotel in Salima, where the group’s leader had called for better press coverage of nursing. Harriet Chiomba of the National Organization of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi (NONM) asked journalists to highlight nurses’ work in improving health. Chiomba reportedly conceded that the profession had some “bad apples,” but she urged the media to “highlight the positive contribution we are making toward serving and saving lives.” She estimated that nurses’ contributions were 95% positive, yet the public perception is that (in the piece’s words) “all of them are bad.” Chiomba also noted that some Malawian nurses and midwives had been lost to Covid-19, but the media had not covered that. Financial support for the workshop reportedly came from the Norwegian Nurses Organization and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation. The Nyasa Times piece closed with a pair of comments that seemed to be at least a bit in tension. One journalist hailed the training as crucial in building trust between the press and health workers, while the NONM’s legal counsel asked journalists to work ethically so that they did not attract lawsuits. The piece might have been more specific about what kind of negative stories Chiomba was talking about, and what nurses actually do to serve and save lives. But it did have helpful quotes from her. And on the whole it effectively highlighted a critical issue for modern nurses everywhere: the need to persuade the media that nursing is a key part of public health. We thank those responsible.
See Watipaso Mzungu’s article “Nurses and Midwives body calls for positive coverage on their profession,” posted on the site of the Nyasa Times on October 30, 2021. Get in touch with the author at @WatiMzungu. Please copy us @TruthAbtNursing so we can hear your conversation. Thank you!
You can reach Nurse Harriet Chiomba at the website of the National Organization of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi.