Joy, relief for expectant mothers as First Lady commissions Mvuma waiting centre

HEALTH ambassador, First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday torched wild celebrations at Mvuma District Hospital, where she handed over a mothers waiting shelter, which she initiated and constructed with the help of the business community and local leadership bringing relief to women, some of whom had to contend with home deliveries, or delivering on the way to hospital.

The situation was even worse in the case of complications since home deliveries were performed by elderly women or untrained midwives who largely did not have capacity to deal with medical emergencies.

Mvuma District Hospital services a large catchment area with expecting mothers having to walk for more than 60 km to the hospital forcing them to opt for home deliveries. 

The mother of the nation has in the past initiated similar such projects in areas like Kanyemba and Binga as she forges ahead with efforts to ease the plight of expecting mothers.  In her birth place of Chiweshe at Maria Theresa clinic which she built, she has the same vision to have a waiting shelter for expecting mothers.

Dr Mnangagwa, who has a passion for the welfare of women and children, held an interactive session with pregnant women from Chirumhanzu and surrounding communities highlighting the importance of getting tested for HIV, registering with a hospital when pregnant, eating healthy foods and shared information on climate change.

She gave the women camped at the waiting shelter some toiletries, diapers, baby preparation sets, baby blankets, baby wrappers, buckets and dishes.

She first toured the fully furnished facility which also has separate toilets and bathrooms and an outside kitchen.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa listens attentively to a young expectant mother during the official opening of the Mvuma District Hospital mothers’ waiting shelter which she initiated and constructed with help of the business community and local leadership yesterday.

She joked with the women, uttering words of wisdom and urged them to look after their children well after giving birth.

The First Lady encouraged women to go for ante-natal HIV testing in order to prevent the transmission of HIV to their unborn babies. …

“Vana mai, do you know that even when you are HIV positive, you can give birth to an HIV negative baby.

This depends on whether you know your status and follow your treatment regimes. 

“It is important to know your HIV status so that both you and the child can live healthy. 

“When on medication, do not stop taking them (medicines). After giving birth you breastfeed the child but you have to follow zvaunenge uchiudzwa nana mukoti (what the nurses tell you). 

“I want to hear that you are all registered for prenatal care, to which the women confirmed,” she said.

Dr Mnangagwa sought to know the types of food a pregnant woman must eat.

“What is it that a pregnant women must eat?” she asked.

In response, one woman said: “A pregnant woman consumes nourishing food which ensures the child grows healthy.”

The First Lady weighed in saying it was not all about babies health alone, but mothers too.

“It’s not just the baby’s health which is of concern but also that of the mother,” she said.

Another discussant highlighted the food that ought to be eaten by expecting mothers.

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa is hugged by expecting mothers who could not hide their appreciation for the mothers’ waiting shelter which she initiated and constructed for them at Mvuma District Hospital.

“We must eat food that gives both the mother and the child good health like black jack, pumpkin leaves, fruits and much more,” she said.

Dr Mnangagwa said: “There is plenty of food, isn’t it? But what kind of sadza are you taking madzimai? Now there is climate change, which means there is little rain, isn’t it so? What should we do here?”

“We must eat sorghum and millet sadza at this point in time when there is no rain because traditional grains are drought resistant and they are healthy and nutritional,” another woman said. 

Amai Mnangagwa concurred.

“You have all spoken well.

We are in the era of climate change and the traditional grains that were consumed by our forefathers are back. These grains are drought tolerant and we will get something to harvest.

“Traditional grains are the way to go, let us embrace and consume them. The seasons have shifted so we move to traditional grains as they are our food. Our forefathers did not frequent hospitals because they always ate healthy. These days its different, there are many ailments, isn’t it so? If we go back to the traditional grains you will see that as helpful. I thank you madzimai for braving the hot weather to come here. I pray that God blesses you and your children. Look after these children because they are the reasons we live for. Let us look after these children and they will in turn look after us in the future,” she said.

Mvuma District Hospital Matron, Sister Anatoria Ngondo, thanked the First Lady for her gesture and highlighted some of the challenges the hospital faced due to the absence of a waiting shelter.

“I am so grateful for what has happened here where we have been given a waiting shelter for expecting mothers. 

First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa listens attentively as an expectant mother shares her views with her peers on nutritious foods that must be consumed by expecting mothers during the official opening of the mothers’ waiting shelter at Mvuma District Hospital.

“We had a big challenge in the past because we have a very wide catchment area and people would come from places like Chiodza, Yuta and Makuti which are about 60km away. 

“This resulted in some people delivering at homes or on the way because of lack of transport to reach this place on time. At one point we had a nurse who was called to assist a woman who was about to give birth at home. 

“She rushed to her house which is far away from the hospital. On their way back, they could not cross because the river was flooded. She had to put up there with the patient and today we are so happy with the waiting mothers waiting shelter. All these challenges we were facing are now in the past as women will be coming to deliver their healthy babies at the hospital. We thank our mother, the First Lady Dr Mnangagwa for what she has done for us because now women can come and wait for their time,” she said.

The pregnant women who are staying at the shelter beamed with pride, praising the First Lady for coming to their rescue.

Among the women was Mrs Caroline Simango, who is expecting her third child.

Expectant mothers interact with First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa during the official opening of the mothers’ waiting shelter at Mvuma District Hospital, which she initiated and constructed for them with help of the business community and local leadership.

“I have come from turn off to wait for my time to deliver here in Mvuma. Many mothers were delivering on the way while some were being assisted by elderly women resulting in some complications. Here there are nurses who will be monitoring us from time to time telling us what needs to be fixed on time. We thank you Amai for initiating the construction of this waiting shelter. Your love is unmatched. You know the challenges we were facing and we thank you for the gifts you brought for us and our babies ,” she said.

Mrs Tambudzai Chavanga echoed similar sentiments.

“I wish to thank our mother Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa for what she has done for us to prepare a place for us to wait for our time. I am expecting my fifth child and I come from Moffat. It was tough for me in the past to travel for reviews because of transport challenges,” she said.

Among the women was 19-year-old Dorcas Ruvarashe Mashiri who is expecting her first child.

“I am grateful for what has happened here where we have been provided with shelter. We stay in far off places which are hard to reach. There are also serious transport challenges. We are grateful for what Amai is doing countrywide. I was lucky that my first child will be born amid such good tidings. I thank her a lot,” she said.

Omega Mafuratide (22) was similarly charmed by the First Lady’s gesture. 

The mothers’ waiting shelter which was initiated and constructed by First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa at Mvuma District Hospital with help of the business community and local leadership.

“I am so happy for what the First Lady does for us time and again. I come from Nyikavanhu which is far away from the hospital hence these shelters are important to us as women. 

“I am so lucky to have access to such a facility. I had a few clothes for the baby but our mother came to our rescue,” she said.

Amai Mnangagwa’s several medical outreach programmes using her Angel of Hope Foundation’s mobile clinic have also brought quality health care services in hard to reach areas countrywide.


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