Lockdown leaves pregnant women stranded
PREGNANT women are now struggling to access health facilities as public transport has become scarce during the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown, forcing many of them to walk long distances to access prenatal care.
In urban areas and because of the current lockdown, pregnant women have missed their check-ups and prenatal care while those who had booked earlier at distant clinics or hospitals had to cancel bookings and rebook at nearer health facilities.
Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors Association secretary-general Aaron Musara told the Daily News on Sunday that these issues should be immediately addressed as lack of access to health facilities during pregnancy is risky to women.
“Transport is needed for quick access to healthcare facilities. It certainly is a great challenge with the lockdown. Delayed access can result in avoidable complications,” Musara said.
The Zimbabwe Coalition of Debt and Development (Zimcodd) has complained that expecting mothers who are about to give birth are now expected to go to clinics at an advanced stage of their labour and are immediately discharged soon after child birth.
“Those who come in as soon as they experience the first labour pain are examined and in this case, discharged because they are not ‘ready’ to give birth. It is unfortunate that these women are faced with the possibility of giving birth at home or on their way to the clinic which is not safe,” Zimcodd said in a statement recently.
Women’s Academy Leadership in Political Excellence (Walpe) programmes manager Batanayi Colletta Mapinde Gwangwawa has called on government to introduce mobile prenatal services to ease the burden that pregnant women are now facing.
“There should now be mobile prenatal services in the communities where women can still get the services. These can be conducted by primary care nurses.
“The traditional birth attendants and village health worker system should be revived, up scaled and further equipped with essentials such as drugs, gloves and sanitisers,” Gwangwawa said.
She added that government can also introduce a dedicated public transport system for expectant mothers so that they can travel to various health centres without any challenges.