Edith Opperman Maternity Clinic in Mbare, Harare, is now operational following its reopening last week and by yesterday it had helped 76 mothers deliver, bringing relief to scores of pregnant women.
Some women were recently forced to give birth at home or in makeshift clinics, despite the risks associated with such births because of the ongoing strike by nurses at council clinics.
To prove the risk, 10 of the first 76 women attended to had complications and were transferred to a central hospital for further care.
On the other hand, the number of pregnant women seeking assistance from Ms Esther Zinyoro, popularly known as Mbuya Gwena, a traditional birth attendant at Tagarira Flats, has significantly dropped.
Furniture, which had been moved from her lounge and stacked against the wall outside her home to create space for patients, had by yesterday been taken back into the lounge.
When The Herald visited Mbuya Gwena’s home, there was only one woman in the lounge, who said she was not aware that Edith Opperman had resumed services.
Before the clinic reopened, Mbuya Gwena’s lounge accommodated an average of six women at any given time.
It was used also used as a post-natal room for mothers and their newborn babies.
In an interview yesterday, the city’s health director, Dr Prosper Chonzi ,said between Tuesday last week when the clinic opened and Saturday, the clinic had admitted 76 expecting mothers.
He said of these, 46 delivered in the health facility while 10 were transferred to a central hospital for further assistance and nine gave birth before arriving at the health facility.
“The clinic is attending to all pregnant women who present for delivery and we anticipate the numbers to go up as word of resumption of services spreads.
“We no longer expect home deliveries since all necessary measures have been put in place for resumption of services at Edith Opperman Maternity Clinic,” said Dr Chonzi.
He said the local authority had mobilised sisters in charge from its other clinics and added additional staff from the schools of midwifery at Harare and Parirenyatwa hospitals to fill the void left by the striking nurses.
Harare City Council nurses stopped reporting for duty a fortnight ago citing incapacitation.
This forced the local authority to operate with skeletal staff, who were subsequently deployed in equal numbers to five of the council’s 12 polyclinics.
Harare City Council runs another 40 satellite clinics and health centres, which have also been forced to close because of the strike.