Michell Zvanyanya, Chronicle Reporter
MPILO Central Hospital’s maternity wing is overwhelmed by numbers of expectant mothers seeking its services thereby compromising service delivery.
The hospital is attending to an average of 200 expectant mothers a day and delivering 35 babies or more yet its capacity is to deliver a maximum of 20 babies a day.
The hospital’s clinical director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said the wing has only 14 delivery beds and as such there was overcrowding.
He said resources were overstretched and staff overworked thereby compromising quality of services.
Dr Ngwenya said most expectant mothers were seeking services at the hospital because the services were free while council clinics were charging for the same services.
“Under normal situation we are supposed to deliver an average of 20 babies a day but now its 35 or more babies using infrastructure and other resources meant for 20 deliveries,” he said.
Dr Ngwenya said there is urgent need to increase staff and other resources to enable the maternity wing to cope with the increased workload.
He said overcrowding had increased the risks of infection hence the need to expand the infrastructure as well as increase staff and other resources.
Dr Ngwenya appealed to Government to unfreeze critical posts in midwifery to enable the staff to cope with increased demand for services.
“At the moment we have about 200 midwives attending to patients 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. The ideal situation is that one midwife should be attending to a single patient but now a midwife is attending to three or four patients. By patients we mean waiting mothers, delivering mothers and those who would have delivered as they all require care,” said Dr Ngwenya.
He blamed policy inconsistency between Central Government and local authorities which he said had resulted in expectant mothers seeking services at Government hospitals where the services were free.
“When Government exempted expectant mothers from paying for services, councils continued to charge for the services hence this mass movement to Government hospitals,” said Dr Ngwenya.
The hospital’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Leonard Mabandi said the institution was working on modalities to construct another maternity ward to decongest the existing wards.
“We are now screening the expectant mothers so that those in early pregnancy are separated from those about to deliver in order to reduce overcrowding,” he said.
Meanwhile, 71 general nurses and 58 midwives graduated at Mpilo Central Hospital yesterday at a ceremony held at the Large City Hall.
During the graduation, Dr Mabandi said this year has been one of the toughest for the institution.
“This year has not been easy, in fact it has been one of the toughest years in a very long time in Zimbabwe.
“Our medicines are imported and need foreign currency and for that reason the supply of medicines has not reached our desired levels,” he said.— @michellzvanyanyan2