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Expectant mothers face registration nightmare

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EXPECTING mothers in the Highfield suburb of Harare are waking up as early as 4am to register at the local polyclinic as shortage of qualified personnel has hit Harare city health facilities.

Feluna Nleya

A NewsDay crew on Tuesday saw scores of women queuing early in the morning at the clinic as they scrambled to register to enable them to deliver at the health centre.

One expecting mother, Joyline Mutambo, said it was her fifth time this month to try to register at the clinic, but she had not got joy as yet.

“It seems as if I am always late because when I get here to register, there are already several other women in front of me
and the nurses only take between five and 10 pregnant mothers a day,” she said.

Another expecting mother, Taririo Ushe, said she managed to register after waking up before 2am to join the queue.

“I am happy that I have managed to register,” Ushe said. “It has not been easy as I have been coming here for many days, but without success. So this time around, I came at 2am today.”

Another woman who preferred anonymity said: “I came yesterday [Monday], but the nurses told me to come back today [Tuesday] and was told that they only take five mothers. This is a challenge especially if you go to work. One will have to take a week off duty so that they come to the clinic to try and register.”

The women said gates at the clinic opened at 4am and queues would have formed by that time.

Harare City health director Prosper Chonzi confirmed receiving reports of problems at Highfield and Rutsanana clinics. He said the problems had since been solved.

“We heard of it [women encountering problems in registering] and we have tried to solve the problem,” Chonzi said.

“The major problem was manpower. We have a few midwives especially at Highfield and Rutsanana clinics, but we have since rectified the problems.”

He said registering pregnancy entailed a lot of things and took time as it needed specialised manpower like midwives.
“They need to examine the patients, draw blood for tests, check blood pressure and also check if the babies are in the right
position in the womb. And this means you might not be able to see many patients and it also needs more training and not just a general nurse,” Chonzi said.

“We have since rationalised and things should be normalising in those areas by now.”

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