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Pregnant women sleep on the floor at UBH, asked to bring own blankets

Pregnant women are sleeping on the floor and being asked to bring their own blankets at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) in a further sign of the deteriorating health delivery system in Zimbabwe.

This was revealed on Tuesday as a matter of national interest in Parliament by MDC Alliance MP Illos Nyoni.

He further cited a shortage of blood at the hospital and urged the Ministry of Health to consider recapitalisation of the institution.

“Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of national interest is on the state of the maternity wings of most hospitals in Zimbabwe. I will zero in on the United Bulawayo Hospitals UBH. I have had the opportunity to visit that part of the hospital and the state it is in is very sad.

“The infrastructure has dilapidated; the floors have potholes; in a hospital. The buildings are crowded; you will find expecting women being asked to sleep on the floor because the beds will be full. They end up being asked to bring their own blankets from home,” he said.

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“We are also aware that during the process of labour, a lot of blood is lost and most of the time the blood is not there. If the doctors prescribe two pints of blood, what will be available is what is given and in most cases, they will end up getting less than half of the blood that will be needed.

“It is my prayer therefore that the Ministry of Health looks at this issue with seriousness to ensure that there is improvement in this area. Perhaps also consider utilisation of Ekusileni Medical Centre, which is currently under-utilised, although it is said to be open. I thank you,” he said.

Three weeks ago, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Constantino Chiwenga launched the Health Resilience Fund (HRF), the National Health Strategy (2021-2025), the Investment case for the National Health Strategy and the Coordination framework for the health sector.

The HRF, which succeeded the Health Development Fund (2016-2022), is a pooled health fund with financial commitments of about US$90 million over the next 3 years.

It is being rolled out with financing from the European Union, the Governments of Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO are the technical partners of the Fund which is expected to contribute to the improvement of health care for vulnerable mothers, newborns, children and adolescents in Zimbabwe.

With the country facing financial and economic crisis coupled with mismanagement and corruption, the health sector suffers more and it now relies mainly on donor funding.