By Criswell Chisango
KAROI-A cold war is looming between Karoi town councilors accusing chairman Richard Ziki and senior management of derailing developmental projects.
This comes amid revelations that some donated materials for a maternity wing is gathering dust at council premises.
The donated goods include fridges and scanning machines among other goods donated early last year by Netherlands based Zim-Health, a Non Government Organisation.
Zim-Health donated the goods that should have been used at Chikangwe community clinic where a maternity wing was established to assist expecting mothers before they are referred to Karoi hospital that caters for 22 outlaying clinics within the district. The maternity wing should have been opened in August last year.
The irate councilors signed a petition dated 13 May 2015 and it is in Radio VOP’s possession.
Six councilors are Travollota Matekenya (Ward 1), Ganizani Chintokoma (Ward 2), Stewart Jena (Ward 3), vice chairman Bernard Gwanzura (Ward 5) Abel Matsika (Ward 7) and Fortune Madamombe (Ward 10).
They are demanding explanation on delays of some developmental projects including the maternity wing in Chikangwe high density suburb that has taken long to be implemented.
‘’We have not received any communication as to why the maternity wing is stalled but what we know is that the donor is not happy with slow pace made. We appeal to your council to be results oriented’’ adds the document.
However, council secretary Maxwell Kaitano blames health ministry for failing to urgently approve employment of nurses at the maternity wing.
‘’We are facing delays from the parent health ministry as we cannot open maternity wing without qualified personnel. It is procedural that they approve and deploy qualified personnel’’ says town secretary.
They need at least five nurses including two midwives at the maternity wing.
Health officials at Karoi district and Chinhoyi provincial were elusive on the matter.
A source said they could not approve deployment of nurses at the maternity wing.
‘’It is procedural that Karoi council apply to the ministry and we will await approval from the health board that may give nod or deny the application. It may take ages as the Ministry of health froze all health posts throughout the country’’ said a source speaking on condition that he is not named.
Lillian Dodzo, President of Zimbabwe Midwives Confederation says the country will miss MDG goals.
‘’We are concerned on rural maternal deaths that is unacceptably higher for the country as most deaths are due to critical shortage of midwives, transport among others. Midwives ratio should be one midwife attending to 175 deliveries but currently it’s twice and is unfavorable. We must improve on number of midwives in both urban and rural clinics’’ says Dodzo.
She says the Government and other stakeholders must speed up ‘’retention scheme’’ for midwives to avert sad scenario gripping the nation.
Former health minister in inclusive government Doctor Henry Madzorera admits that the unmet need for family planning has remained stagnant at 13 % since 1999.
Unfreeze heath positions
‘’Planning pregnancy is a major effective intervention in reducing maternal mortality. Government must accelerate training of midwives. We trained a lot of midwives yearning to come back from abroad but the conditions are not attractive at all. Without good health there are no prospects for economic prosperity.’’ says Madzorera.
He further explains that Government must ‘’unfreeze’’ employment in health sector without conditions or comparisons with other sectors.
Zimbabwe 2012 progress report compiled by health ministry and partners says touching situation in rural clinics countrywide will hamper Millennium Development Goal 5 aimed at improving maternal health, by 75 percent reduction on maternal mortality ratio between 1990 and 2015, to achieve universal access to reproductive health.
Negative trend on maternity mortality ratio worsened, rising to 960 per 100 000 live births in 2010-2011 compared to 612 in 2005-2006, according to the report.
‘’This translate to about 12 women dying every day from pregnancy related complications. Minimum age was 14 years; medium death was 28 years with maximum of 47 years. Four main causes of deaths in 2010/2011 were post partum hemorrhage, sepsis, eclampsia and malaria’’ according to the report.
However, delays on time taken to seek healthcare, time needed to reach health care facility and time taken to access care at the health facility remain a stumbling block.
‘’The health ministry faces lack of skilled manpower, unavailability of essential drugs, socio-cultural challenges, inaccessibility or long distances to clinics’’ adds the report.
It recommends that three delays of decision to seek health care, reach health care and access care at health facility must be reversed.
The report says there is need for adequate supplies of critical maternal, medical equipment and commodities such as blood products.
This will affect Zimbabwe health sector ahead of millenium Development Goals (MDGs) expiry in June.
The health sector faced a setback during the economic crisis of early 2005 where hundreds fled the country seeking greener pastures in mostly European countries and with Southern Africa after the Government failed to pay them attractive salaries.
In its desperate move, the Government froze positions rendering those who are being trained jobless. Several thousands of trained nurses, midwives are doing odd jobs both in the country and abroad as the Government is reluctant to open up employment for them.