Villagers in Shurugwi South say the opening of a home for expectant mothers at the biggest clinic in the area will help local pregnant women to have easier access to the health facility.
Some of the villagers who spoke to Studio 7 said the opening of the waiting mothers' shelter at Zvamavande Clinic in Shurugwi South would help reduce maternal deaths as more women would be able to deliver at the clinic rather than at their rural homes.
Although Shurugwi has a district hospital located in the town of Shurugwi, the Midlands provincial medical directorate says Zvamavande Clinic, serves as the referral centre for 17 of 23 health centres in the area, with some people from the neighbouring districts of Chivi and Zvishavane also using the facility.
Owing to the large catchment area that it serves, the clinic has also been earmarked for upgrading to a district hospital.
Acting sister-in-charge for Zvamavande Clinic, Mary Zhou, said the new waiting mothers' shelter will be very useful.
According to the Midlands provincial medical directorate, there were 49 maternal deaths in the province last year with six of them being recorded in Shurugwi district.
Zhou said with the opening of the waiting mothers' shelter, such deaths should be reduced.
One of the expectant mothers who spoke to Studio 7, Prisca Masvaya of Hanke Mission, stays over 20 kilometers from Zvamavande Clinic.
Masvaya said she had to come to the waiting mothers' shelter at Zvamavande as there is no such facility where she lives.
Another expectant mother is Moreblessing Mbinda from Chitora, near the border with Chirumhanzu district. She came to Zvamavande also because no such facility exists in her area.
“I come from Chitora. I came to await my delivery date here at Zvamavande because this is the nearest biggest clinic which has a waiting mothers' shelter. The facility is very nice and expectant mothers like me can wait for their due date in comfort. There is running water here. There is no such facility where I live,” said Mbinda.
Zvamavande Waiting Mothers' Shelter was commissioned last Friday and it was constructed at a cost of over $50,000, which was provided by the Canadian International Development Agency, through Women's International Coalition, or Wico, a local non-governmental organization.
LAUNDRY AND COOKING
The home can accommodate thirty expecting mothers at any given time, and it also has a separate laundry and cooking area.
The Tongogara Community Share Ownership Trust also contributed a fraction of the funding.
Headman Rex Mabeza, who is also chairperson of the Zvamavande Village Development Committee, revealed that locals also chipped in by molding bricks for the shelter and provided builders.
“As locals we felt it was very important for us to assist in the construction of the waiting mothers' shelter because the older shelters were not that good. So when WICO came with a plan for the construction of the new shelter, we thought it was important for us to be involved as we felt that it would not be proper for outsiders to help us while we sit back and watch,” said Mabeza.
Zimbabwe's health ministry aims at reducing maternal births by among other things constructing waiting mothers' shelters.