By Nhau Mangirazi
SIAKOBVU– Several expectant mothers from outlying rural areas at Siakobvu hospital after making the health facility their second home as they face acute water shortages and poor mobile network communication to get in touch with their relatives.
The outlying hospital is within Kariba district and has challenges in accessible road from Karoi farming town which is the nearest shopping area about 210 kilometers away.
The women who are now housed at the local Mothers Shelter are not happy that lack of running water at the hospital that has not been solved for too long besides the fact that availability of water is part of pregnant women’s right.
According to participants who attended a National Association of Non-Government Organization (NANGO) workshop here, efforts by the Government to stabilize the economy last year had positive results in the health sector.
NANGO as a watchdog on the implementation of Transitional Stabilization Program (TSP) for improved, accountable and effective developmental outcomes, organized the meeting that was held at Siakobvu business center last week
The participants told officials from NANGO that Government is failing help in maternal health and food security as mobile network affordability is steep since voice call charges have been hiked regularly out of reach for majority of ordinary citizens.
Onias Munamati (NANGO monitoring and evaluation) officer spelt out TSP objectives that were aimed at improved service delivery, food distribution, inputs and road networks.
He called on participants to speak their mind on improvements on services delivery, health, food security and other service deliveries
Several participants complained that the maternal health sector is facing challenges for mostly rural women here.
‘We are forced to fetch water from a mountainous place far away from the hospital. Lack of water is a big challenge here for us and without water there is no life. We have been forced to camp at the Mother’s Shelter with hope that things are better compared to our communally based facilities to give birth in,’ complained a thirty three old Naume Chaka of Negande who is among expectant mothers.
She has been at the shelter for the past two months and may deliver later this month.
Another expectant mother, eighteen year-old Locardia Muganhi said since this is her first pregnancy, lack of an ambulance at Siakobvu hospital puts several pregnant women’s lives at risk.
‘We face the real risk and challenge that there is no ambulance and once there is a complication during giving birth, expecting mother and the child may die before they reach Karoi which is far away and the road network is not good. If you want to be transferred, you have to rely on those who have their private cars and with acute fuel crisis, being pregnant is becoming risky here,’ she said.
The villagers called on the Government to avail a reliable ambulance to cater for expecting mothers.
‘We are not communicating with our relatives about our health status and other needs as there are challenges of mobile network particularly voice call hikes that are done regularly by all network providers. We are facing a real crisis here,’ added Chaka.
However, Kariba Proportional Representative Hon Christine Nyere said the situation at Siakobvu is heartbreaking for women rights.
‘We are deeply concerned that maternal health challenges are affecting rural populace and Kariba rural has not been spared. We hope Government will help in availing a reliable ambulance in the area as we can’t afford to lose any woman while giving birth. This is unacceptable at all costs,’ bemoaned Hon Nyere in a telephone interview.
The call by Siakobvu villagers puts Zimbabwe at risk of dealing with maternal health as it is failing to give basic assistance to pregnant women to give birth in conducive environment.