CHIREDZI – Expecting mothers from across Chiredzi District are struggling to get decent places to stay as they wait to deliver babies at Chiredzi District Hospital.
This is because the biggest referral hospital in the district no longer provides waiting shelter a development that has seen tens of pregnant women sleeping at bus termini on a daily basis.
Journalists from The Masvingo Mirror visited Chiredzi`s two bus termini last week and witnessed a group of pregnant women hiring a taxi for one of their colleagues who was in labour pains. The women who refused to be identified said they come from different parts of the district, from faraway places like Malipati, Gezani and Chikombedzi.
Chiredzi District Medical Officer Brian Dhlandhlara confirmed that Chiredzi Hospital does not have a waiting mothers` shelter. He said expecting mothers referred from rural clinics are admitted in the maternity ward which is already too small and causing congestion.
He said shelter for mothers which was there before was converted into the FCH department. He said he was not aware that there were expecting mothers who were sleeping at the bus terminus.
The expecting mothers told a local publication that they were referred to Chiredzi by their rural clinics for various reasons. They said they did not have relatives in the sugar town.
“We are sleeping here because we do not have any relatives in this town. We were referred to Chiredzi Hospital by our clinics for different reasons. We teamed up and made the decision to sleep here despitel the risks that face women in places such as this. We are hiring a taxi for a colleague who is about to deliver,” said one expecting mother.
“Definitely the hospital needs to have a waiting mothers’ shelter for expecting mothers who come from faraway places. I was not aware that there are mothers who are sleeping at the rank. We admit expecting mothers without shelter in our maternity ward but this has caused serious congestion. The shelter which was there was converted into FCH department.
“We think part of the solution lies in improving Poly Clinics so that they start deliveries and decongest the hospital. The other option is to build a more spacious maternity wing or extend the current,” said Dhlandlara.
Dhlandlara said Chiredzi district is getting between 600 and 700 new baby deliveries every month with Chiredzi Hospital having 300 deliveries every month. He said the maternity ward at the hospital should carry 40 pregnant mothers at a time but it always carries 60 mothers since the hospital added 20 floor beds due to high demand of expecting mothers.
Member of Parliament for Chiredzi South Rt Gen Kallisto Gwanetsa said the situation at Chiredzi Hospital is unacceptable and measures should be taken to address the issue of a waiting shelter. He said he is always called to assist mothers who will be stranded in his constituency especially when the river is flooded making it difficult to access Chiredzi Hospital easily.