Expectant mothers deprived of health services
Ivan Zhakata Herald Correspondent
Expectant mothers can no longer access maternity services at Harare City Council’s Glen View and Budiriro Polyclinics, and must travel much further to find clinics where they can get prenatal checks, counseling and then deliver.
Acting Harare City Council Spokesman Mr Innocent Ruwende attributed the lack of maternal health services to the shortage of nurses in the council’s clinics, with only half of the maternity nursing positions filled. and Covid-19 keeping a large block of staff at home.
Pregnant women alleged that the Glen View Polyclinic no longer registers pregnant women for maternal health services as Budiriro Polyclinic health workers ask them to register on the day of delivery.
“I wanted to register for maternity but the nun in charge told me that the Glen View Polyclinic no longer offers maternal health care services and that I should go somewhere but now I am stuck,” said a woman. pregnant woman who requested anonymity. .
At the Budiriro polyclinic, the situation was worse because health workers did not consider pregnancy an emergency.
“My due dates were in December but the nurses told me to come on the day of delivery with the registration money,” said another woman.
Mr Ruwende said Covid-19 had severely affected the council’s health services and at one point all staff at Warren Park Polyclinic were infected.
“Most of our employees were affected by Covid-19 and were unable to report to work as they were in isolation. As you know, this is a specialized field and not all nurses can perform these functions. We are also struggling in numbers because our nurses are leaving for greener pastures,” he said.
Mr Ruwende said the capacity of midwives is 50% and some are isolated so they need partner support to hire locum midwives.
He said the Budiriro Polyclinic managed to book 151 mothers for their first visit to the antenatal clinic in December and they were making the first advance reservations on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The Glen View Polyclinic makes reservations for prenatal clinics on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Wednesdays they do follow-up visits and on Fridays they do six-week postnatal checkups. For the month of December, a total of 170 mothers have been booked.
At most, the day service is provided by a midwife and the sister due to staff constraints. As a result, not all mothers who show up for antenatal bookings may be taken on the particular day, hence the complaints,” Mr Ruwende said.
The denial of access to maternal health services came at a time when the council unilaterally decided to close nine clinics in the city citing health staff shortages.