Thursday, March 13, 2008

Shifting Focus on Malawi's Nurses

I'm breaking new ground--at least for me--in the way I'm preparing for my Malawi reporting trip. Journalists don't usually announce to the world what they're going to cover since someone else could do a rush job and "scoop" them. But having taken the leap of posting my proposal "At Work with Malawi's Nurses" on the blog, I've found I've gotten some very good feedback--mostly by email (people still don't seem comfortable making public comments or perhaps they don't believe I read them--I do).

At any rate, based on the responses so far, I think I need to broaden the theme of my reporting to include non-university trained or diploma nurses in Malawi. These are the men and women who follow a two-year course of study (three years for midwifery) but cannot transfer their credentials out of the country without further university study.

Still there are factors that keep diploma nurses out of rural hospitals and clinics. Pay is an obvious one but just as important, my email correspondents tell me, are the lack of resources with which to create good quality care, lack of schools for the nurses' children and lack of adequate housing.

This shift in focus on a story is not so new--even for someone trained in traditional journalism. When I worked at TIME magazine, I would commonly change direction on stories based on preliminary interviews. I've just never been so public about it before.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Christine this is a terrific idea. We are used to having Registered Nurses and physicians take care of our every need in this country simply because we are fabulously wealthy to a degree unimaginable to most Malawians. Those health professionals are extremely highly trained and specialized. Mid-level health professionals are much more relevant to the lives many Africans lead now and their central health care needs in the near future. Michael Clemens