Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
MATABELELAND South Province last year recorded a 68,7 percent drop in maternal deaths, a development attributed to the ongoing health clinical mentorship programme in province’s and district hospitals,” a government official has said.
Speaking during a recent visit by the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa, to Gwanda Provincial Hospital, the Matabeleland South Provincial Medical Director, Dr Chido Chikodzore, said last year they recorded five maternal deaths compared to 16 in the previous year.
“Annually we report less than 20 maternal deaths in the province and a reduction in maternal deaths has been noted over the past six years. In 2017 we reported five maternal deaths compared to 16 in 2016,” she said.
“We have an ongoing reproductive health clinical mentorship programme where specialist obstetricians and gynaecologists have been visiting provincial and district hospitals to offer their specialist services. Training of staff on delivery, availability of medicine and blood and other resources has also resulted in a reduction of maternal deaths.”
Dr Chikodzore said the province had managed to improve on service delivery over the past year.
She said last year they recorded 52 drug resistant tuberculosis cases compared to 62 in 2015.
The PMD said the TB treatment success for all forms of TB had improved from 67 percent in 2015 to 90 percent in 2015.
Dr Chikodzore said the province had also been named best for malaria cases management in the country last year.
She said under the HIV/AIDS treatment all districts were now implementing the Treat All programme but the province still relied on Mpilo Hospital for viral load testing as it was yet to receive viral load machines.
Dr Chikodzore said the provincial annual average cure rate for acute malnutrition had also increased to 80 percent in 2017 from 60 percent in 2016.
“A major challenge which institutions are facing is the shortage of blood at the National Blood Transfusion Service. At the same time not all hospitals are able to offer blood transfusion either due to lack of laboratory personnel, no refrigerators for storage of the blood and lack of reagents for required testing,” she said.
Dr Chikodzore said the vacancy rate of doctors was at 25 percent as at December while in 2016 it was 20 percent. She said the vacancy rates for nurses had declined from 15 percent in 2016 to nine percent last year. She said the province had a challenge of pharmacist managers for district hospitals. She said only two district hospitals namely Gwanda and Umzingwane had pharmacists.
She appealed to Minister Parirenyatwa to address challenges faced by the province.