By Leopold Munhende/Paidashe Mandivengereyi
PARIRENYATWA Group of Hospitals has jumped to the defence of nurses who were on duty when a mother, Sharon Munyonho died together with her baby during child birth at its Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Ward early Sunday morning.
Preliminary investigations into the deaths by a neuro-surgeon, Maximilian Dzowa have pointed at an overwhelmed system for maternal deaths recorded at the institution.
Head of division at Mbuya Nehanda, Taazadza Nhemachena said an imbalanced nurse to patient ratio and poor infrastructure were partly to blame for Munyonho and her baby’s death.
“The socio-economic status of the country needs to be improved to eradicate poverty then everything falls into place, things for monitoring babies and mothers.
“We are having low risk women and high risk women coming to Parirenyatwa Hospital which overwhelms the system so we end up with system failure and patients end up getting substandard care, we have deaths and mortalities even patients with complications,” said Nhemachena.
“The system has been overloaded and the nurse patient ratio for instance in the labour ward should be 1:2 ideally but at the current moment one midwife is looking after four patients and the same case is there in other Wards before they go to labour which compromises monitoring.”
She added: “The infrastructure that was there when the population of Harare was almost 2 million is still the same so we need to expand it, a Ward which should accommodate 10 patients now houses 17.”
The full report is expected next week.
Munyonho was reportedly ignored by nurses at Mbuya Nehanda’s first floor ante-natal clinic while in labour as they insisted that she was faking pain.
She was found dead at 6am and efforts to resuscitate her were fruitless according to Dzowa.
“They really worked as efficiently and the best way they could. In terms of them handling patients properly, this is an issue an area as the Health Ministry we continue to work on,” said Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Agnes Mahomva.
Expecting mothers at Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Ward who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com detailed how they were being mistreated by nurses, angry at government for low wages and poor working conditions.
They said that they were living in fear a similar incident happening to them.