MASVINGO – The risk faced by pregnant women who visit Masvingo General Hospital for delivery has increased with critical maternity ward equipment and drugs being in short supply, TellZim News can reveal.
A recent audit report of Masvingo Provincial Hospital by the Auditor General's office paints a gloomy picture of the referral hospital which is running without critical material and medicines in the maternity ward.
The hospital has ran out of such simple yet critical equipment as Doppler fetal monitors – handheld ultrasound baby heartbeat monitors used to listen to an embryo or fetus' heartbeat.
The report also highlights the lack of alternative water channels to serve theatres, a situation which makes it difficult for the hospital to control infections.
"I observed with concern the shortage of Cytotec, Hydrallazine, Nifedipine, injection needles, BP machines, catheters and urine bags at the maternity ward which are critical to service delivery by the Ministry. Also of major concern was the fact that the maternity ward had no functional doplar machine at the time of audit on October 04, 2016," the report reads.
Cytotec is a medication used to start labour, cause an abortion and treat postpartum bleeding due to poor contraction of the uterus during childbirth while hydralazine is injected as a smooth-muscle relaxant to treat hypertension thereby lowering blood pressure.
Nefedipine is also a critical drug used to treat high blood pressure and premature labour.
"This was contrary to section 3 (2) (b) of the Public Health Act (Chapter 15:09) which stipulates that the functions of the Ministry responsible for health shall be to promote the public health, prevention, limitation or suppression of infectious and contagious diseases," the report reads.
The report discloses that water shortages are not only affecting the maternal ward but other strategic sections of the hospital.
"I observed with great concern that there was erratic water supply at maternity ward and all the three theatres that is main theatre, maternity theatre and casualty theatre. These facilities were only relying on council water whose availability was erratic. At most instances these facilities were operating without water supply for long periods when council water is not running.
"This scenario had a devastating effect to service delivery as machines such as autoclaves could not operate without water. Furthermore, infection control in maternity ward where discharged human fluids need to be constantly cleaned was compromised. This was caused by the non-availability of a borehole and water tanks," the report notes.
Masvingo Provincial Medical Director (PMD) Dr Amadeus Shamhu referred this publication to the hospital's Medical Superintendent, Dr Chirengwa who was unavailable for comment.
"It is every institution's duty to make sure that medicine is available at the hospital. The Medical Superintendent is in charge of that so it will be best if you get in touch with Dr Chirengwa," Shamu said.news