News / Africa

Muslim Nurses, Midwives in Malawi Can Wear Hijab at Work

A nurse examines a patient suffering from Tuberculosis TB of the bones, cramped with metals to keep his bones tight, at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre. (file photo)
A nurse examines a patient suffering from Tuberculosis TB of the bones, cramped with metals to keep his bones tight, at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre. (file photo)
Lameck Masina

Malawi’s medical regulating body has approved a request to allow Muslim nurses to wear the Islamic headscarf - or hijab - while on duty.

The request came from the education arm of the Muslim Association of Malawi - the Islamic Information Bureau.

“It has taken us almost one year communicating with [officials from] Nurses and Midwives Council of Malawi. I remember we had two or three meetings in [the capital] Lilongwe," said national coordinator of the bureau Dinala Chabulika. "You know these are the rights of women. As Muslims, we have the responsibility to defend the rights of our women.

The registrar of the Nurses and Midwives Council agreed to the request - in part, as a way to encourage more Muslim girls to join the profession, which is severely understaffed. In Malawi, there are only 17 nurses for every 100,000 people.

Martha Mondiwa of the Nurses and Midwives Council says the decision to grant the request was based on consideration of the protocol in other nations’ hospitals and how other religious groups are accommodated in Malawi.

“We have [other religious people] like the Catholics who generically have been putting on their uniforms. I think when they [Muslim officials] saw more Muslim women joining the profession, that’s when they decided to ask for it, I don’t know,” she said.

Mondiwa says the Islamic headscarf will need to be in keeping with the approved colors for the country’s health workers - predominantly all white and/or green

“We will not allow them [to] put on colors like black, no," she said. "We encourage all nurses to follow the prescribed nurses' and midwives' colors. So, for example, if someone is a matron, she will put on a hijab with a matron colors and same to others depending to the color they are, they will go for that.”

One of the Muslim nurses at the country’s Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Duniya Kazembe, says despite the advantages that would come with wearing the hijab while on duty, there are challenges as well.

“When you are in a hijab, some of the patients will respect and appreciate that this one is really dressed well and they will have confidence in you that 'I will be treated [well] with this one.' But [other patients] would segregate nurses who are dressed in a hijab,” said the nurse.

The development comes after Immigration Department authorities allowed Muslim women to start having their passport photos taken with the hijab.

The 2008 population census shows that 13 percent of Malawians are Muslim.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More