THE current power crisis and ever-rising fuel costs bedevilling Zimbabwe has left pregnant women in Mashonaland West bearing the brunt of buying fuel themselves for use during childbirth.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
A source who spoke on condition of anonymity told HealthTimes that women were told to bring their own fuel by health workers in the province and this been happening for a while now.
“Women in some health facilities in Mashonaland West are made to buy all sundries which they cannot afford and in some facilities are made to bring two litres of diesel when coming for delivery. The fuel is meant for generators in case electricity goes and one is in need of surgery,” said the source.
Citizen Health Watch Trustee Fungisai Dube found this trend worrying blaming this on the declining economy. She said health workers are doing their best but are being let down by the economy.
“What we think is mistreating our women is the economy which has completely crippled our healthcare systems,” she said.
She said the prevailing economic turbulence has led to reduced working times for health personnel.
“This means most facilities are understaffed always resulting in poor service delivery, burn out of health personnel leading to increasing cases of negligence,” Dube said.
Dube also blamed the unavailability of medical amenities to the displeasing economy.
“The economic challenges have led to shortages of basic medical amenities leading to not only increased complications but to corruption in health care facilities as some health personnel resort to selling amenities to patients meant for free.
“You will find that others now prioritise selling their wares first at the expense of providing what is available. Shortage of family planning contraceptives has contributed to the challenges of maternal health,” she said.
She added that much needs to be done in the improvement of attitudes of health workers towards their clients.
“I think the attitudes of our health workers especially in the facilities we work in has changed for the better though it remains unsatisfactory and in need of further improvement,” Dube said.
Last month, this publication learnt that some municipal and district clinics resorted to candles during deliveries on the back of the incessant and long hours of load shedding.