Telling Our Story: A ‘Midwife With a Boat’ Who Is Making a Difference

midwifeChawanangwa Beza, 24, is a midwife at David Gordon Memorial Hospital in Malawi. The hospital is located in a rural setting on the Rumphi plateau and, with its four health centres, serves a population of approximately 90,000 people.

This young midwife is worthy of admiration, for he has placed his ambitions on caring for pregnant mothers and he loves newborn babies. Chawanangwa is prepared to work in any place and at any time. While many young midwives shy away from working at the hospital and health centres due to difficult working conditions and the remote location, Chawanangwa has persevered. He continues to pursue his career in this challenging setting in order to assist poor mothers and their newborns who are in great need of services. 

The difficult living conditions in the area means that midwives often don’t stay long in their posts and thus the health centres are frequently short-staffed. Chawanangwa, however, remains dedicated to serving the area and sometimes uses personal holidays to work in the health centres.

Chawanangwa received two awards from the National Organisation of Nurses and midwives (NONM) in 2015 and 2016 as the best midwife. He is nicknamed “Mzamba wa bwato,” meaning “midwife with boat,” because he travels to the health centres by boat.

He likes midwifery because he can instantly see the benefits of his work, a newborn baby. His happiest moment is when he delivers a bouncing healthy baby to a healthy, live mother. But he also takes every sad moment to heart, which motivates his work since he doesn’t want it to occur again and will always avoid it. That is why Chawanangwa will continue to dedicate his life to midwifery.

Chawanangwa, a young midwife in rural Malawi, is waiting for his boat that will take him to see his patients.

Blog by Violet Kaonga, lecturer in Nursing and Midwifery. (This blog is part of our midwifery blog series.)

Do you know a midwife who is working to make a difference for the world’s mothers and babies? Help tell her story! Over the coming weeks leading up to the ICM triennial congress we will collect stories about midwives who are leaders in their field and champions for newborns. Send us a 300-600-word blog that include the midwife’s name, country of work, details about their career and how she or he is making a difference in the world for newborns.

Please send all blog submissions to We will post blogs on HNN and our social media accounts with the hashtag #MidwivesVoices and #ICM2017.

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