A lot of pregnant women in rural Matabeleland North province have risked maternal deaths and other labour related health mishaps amid a reported increase in cases of home deliveries during the current Covid-19 national lockdown period.
Government imposed a prolonged national lockdown against the spread of coronavirus late March with public transport stopped from operating.
This however saw many locals stranded with some failing to access hospitals for treatment.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com on condition he was not named, an official with a local relief NGO told our Bulawayo correspondent the period has seen an increase in home deliveries.
“A lot of pregnant mothers are now delivering at their homes in some remote rural areas in Matabeleland North especially in Binga because of transport challenges related to Covid-19.
“Under such circumstances, the risk of maternal and neonatal deaths is very high because these women are being assisted by unsanctioned midwives.
“There are a lot of complications associated with home births,” said the worker, who cannot be named as he is not permitted to speak officially to the media.
However, the information was confirmed by Executive Director for Women’s Action Group (WAG) Ednah Masiyiwa who said the unfortunate development was against the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“I am aware of the fact that women end up delivering at home because of lack of transport.
“Home delivery might result in the death of mother and baby. Women might have complicated deliveries where the baby might have brain damage,” said Masiyiwa.
She said her organisation will continue to raise awareness for women to go to clinics to minimise the possibility of suffering the mishaps.
Zimbabwe’s performance in key health indicators have been lagging behind on MDGs to reduce both infant and maternal mortality.
A past Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey estimated maternal mortality ratio for Zimbabwe at 651 deaths per 100,000 live births.