A new state-of-the-art shelter at Old Mutare Mission Hospital is a blessing for expectant mothers.
The Waiting Mothers’ Shelter allows pregnant women from Makoni, Nyanga and Mutare Districts to comfortably await the birth of their child without the risk of traveling long distances after labor begins.
The 60-bed shelter and outpatient department at the hospital were completed with a $350,000 grant from the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
“We are grateful to the church and GBGM for the grant which enabled us to construct the best waiting mothers’ shelter so far in the district,” said Dr. Evans Munyaradzi Matiki, acting medical superintendent.
“The new waiting mothers’ shelter and outpatient departments are part of the vision of expanding the hospital to cater to the increased population that we now serve,” he added.
The Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Welfare designated Old Mutare Mission Hospital to offer Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care Services, more commonly known as CEmONC in the Mutasa District.
“Most of these advanced maternity services are not offered at clinics, so the surrounding clinics refer patients to Old Mutare Mission hospital if they encounter complications.
“The upgrading of our infrastructure to cater for increased referrals were long overdue, as the old buildings are now too small and overcrowded.
“Both the staff members and the community are excited about the developments, which will go a long way in proving the health and welfare,” Matiki said.
Before the new shelter was completed, the hospital had a three-room shelter that was supposed to house 12 people, but was actually overcrowded with 30 to 47 waiting mothers at any given time.
In addition, the pluming and cooking facilities were old, outdated and possibly unsafe.
Sister Terrymore Nyamutenha, the sister-in-charge, was thrilled with the new shelter.
“The new home (is) a spacious, comfortable, friendly environment, (with) improved privacy, a beautiful kitchen, adequate running water and good sanitation,” she continued.
She also praised the playground, which allows for outdoor games, and said the new fence means women can dry their clothes outside without fear of theft.
Expectant mothers at 36-weeks are coming from as far as the Makoni, Nyanga and Mutare Districts to wait for delivery 38-40 weeks.
Angela Macherechedze, director of the hospital’s Family and Child Unit, said the mothers self-refer, or the clinics in the area refer them.
“Those referrals are either first pregnancy, experienced complications before, caesarean sections, multiple births, has had many pregnancies or coming from far away where transport is a challenge,” she said.
Macherechedze said the hospital also offers faith, hope and love with health care.
“Daily we open our day with a word of prayer and devotion organised by the staff members and the expecting mothers with the understanding that it is by grace to witness a new day and to give birth safely,” Macherechedze said.
“Twice daily we observe them and complicated cases are referred to our local doctors,” she added.
On average, the hospital handles about 80 deliveries monthly — 916 total in 2018. She said of the 916 births, there were two deaths in 2018 and in 2019.
“In 2018, a woman who was staying at the shelter lost a child and the other in February 2019 was of a woman coming from home.”
The hospital now has a 30-bed maternity unit with operating room, antenatal ward, postnatal ward, a family and child unit and a 60-bed waiting mothers’ shelter that is always full.
“Our vision is to have hospital with a 140-bed general wing and a separate 50-bed private wing that meets today’s expected standards of a medical care facility.
“The church is happy with the development towards achieving our vision,” said the Rev. Joseph Chimberengwa, the mission station chair.
Old Mutare Hospital is a United Methodist institution located in the Mutasa District of Manicaland Province, in the eastern part of Zimbabwe — about two kilometers, or just over a mile ─ from Africa University.
It serves a surrounding population of about 15,000, mainly from nearby rural areas, nearby schools and Africa University, with some patients coming from beyond these areas. Outside the district, the hospital supervises six United Methodist rural health centers with monthly administrative and treatment visits.
Chingwe is communications coordinator for the Zimbabwe East Conference.
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