Tendai (not her real name) had just reached seven months into her pregnancy when she felt the first pangs of labour.
Unprepared and unsure about what to expect she rushed to the nearest clinic in her village near Rusape, 170km South East of Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.
“I came to the clinic near my village when I was seven months pregnant and delivered my baby the same day. My baby was barely 1kg in weight and I was scared he would not survive.”Tendai
Tendai and her baby were rushed to the hospital in Rusape and then transferred to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital in Mutare, which receives complicated maternal cases including pre-term babies from all districts in Manicaland.
There her baby was put into the neonatal intensive care unit and overseen by doctors and nurses to ensure his survival.
Tendai’s case is not unique as Dr Masanga Mutede the Medical Superintendent at Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital explains.
Responding to challenges facing maternal wards, in partnership with The ELMA Group of Foundations, Delta Philanthropies and Higherlife Foundation placed maternal health medical equipment in eight hospitals in Zimbabwe.
The placement and use of this critical equipment in maternity wards will improve maternal and neonatal health outcomes as they facilitate the correct risk assessments, diagnosis, and treatment of mothers and neonates.
Specialist gynaecologist, Dr Miriam Kanyenze explains how this equipment will assist in saving lives.
In Zimbabwe, the Maternal Mortality Rate is 462 deaths per 100,000 live births and the Neonatal Mortality Rate is 32 deaths per 1000 live births. 25% of these deaths occur during delivery and 60% soon after delivery.
The maternal health project is part of our work towards strengthening the healthcare system in Zimbabwe. We remain truly grateful to The ELMA Group of Foundations for their continued investment and support to this project which builds capacity of our maternity wards and healthcare staff within our hospitals.Dr Kennedy Mubaiwa, CEO Higherlife Foundation
In line with Vision 2030 and Sustainable Development Goal 3, to “ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages”, our interventions are catalysing the achievement of the national goal to see the maternal mortality rate drop to 160 deaths per 100,000 and the neonatal mortality rate reduced to 12 deaths per 1000.
In addition our work is assisting the healthcare institutions in Zimbabwe to achieve their own vision and save lives.