Malawi’s health system is facing severe shortages of a local anaesthetic – Lidocaine – which is commonly used in labour wards.
Pregnant women have had to go through some important medical procedures without the drug.
Keith Lipato, the public secretary for the Association of Malawian Midwives, told the BBC’s Focus on Africa that the shortage was being reported by practitioners countrywide.
He said the government had blamed challenges in importing the drug because of the coronavirus pandemic but supply was now expected.
The shortage meant home deliveries increased in a country with a high maternal mortality rate, he added.
“Women would be scared to be sutured without anaesthesia,” Mr Lipato told Focus on Africa.
The government has not commented about the shortage.
Malawi has in the past reported a shortage of drugs in hospitals.