Zimbabwe:Apostolic Woman Takes On Maternity Role As Government Health Sector Crumbles .

By Nevson Mpofu

Grandmother Esther Zinyoro Gwena claims to be guided by the holy spirit.Photo credit:Africans Live
Grandmother Esther Zinyoro Gwena claims to be guided by the holy spirit.Photo credit:Africans Live

Harare—-An Apostolic Traditional Mid-Wife
bare handed, with no gloves, no enough water, no suitable clothing for salvaging
neo-natal babies born in Harare’s high density of Mbare is doing maternal
service wonders. Esther Zinyoro  ,
popularly known as Mbuya Gwena of St Johns Apostolic Church of the Whole
World  a traditional mid-wife                                          has
saved more than 300 lives of neo-natal born babies since the time nurses strike
took toll in Zimbabwe  .

This has occurred at a time nurses were on
strike following the Government’s failure to come up with better inflation
beating salaries. The mid-wife does not charge even a cent for the maternal
health services. Many expecting pregnant women have consulted her free maternal
health services from all walks of Harare.

‘’ I deliver more than 200 babies in 10
days up to this week. I receive knocks on my door in the middle of the night. My
sympathetic heart makes me do this freely because I know the situation on ground.
It is now my 4th month doing the work. At first in two weeks I
delivered 79 neo-natal. The past 2 weeks I have delivered more than 200 making
it close to 300.

‘’Sometimes I get invited in Municipal
clinics to deliver women or a woman who nurses fail to help. Sometimes they can-
not come to my place because I only have two rooms. The problem is space in my rooms.
Water is disconnected. I am helped by some sympathetic men and women to fetch
water so that I can do the work well.

‘’I started working without even gloves but
now it’s a bit better but still I am facing the similar problem. There are some
people who heard of me. They sacrifice to buy gloves, cotton wool and all the
necessary facilities. I use to do this on the floor but now it’s a little bit
better than ever before. Still I have challenges because some mothers fail to
get anything.

‘’Sadly, mothers with HIV who fear
transmitting the virus are at a disadvantage. I do not know anything about HIV.
Such mothers are disadvantaged in this case. HIV pregnant women testify before
I work for them. This is my challenge but I am happy not even a single woman or
neo-natal has died during my service delivery to them’’. She said.

Esther Zinyoro Gwena holds one of the babies she has just delivered in her tiny apartment in the poor suburb of Mbare in Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.Photo: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP
Esther Zinyoro Gwena holds one of the babies she has just delivered in her tiny apartment in the poor suburb of Mbare in Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.Photo: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP

 …Asked
to comment Esther Muia UNFPA Country Representative commented that it shows the
role of Traditional Mid-Wives is a story in the African culture that must not
be ignored. She pointed out as well that Governments in Africa must take such
roles and responsibilities seriously because this is all about life and care of
the new born baby.

‘’Traditionally women used to do the work
rather than clinics and hospitals. This is excellent work at a time in Zimbabwe
the country has no enough budget for medicines, drugs, health facilities,
infrastructure and enough to pay Health Workers. Such kind of challenges are
everywhere in Africa because traditionally mid-wives are everywhere around the continent.

‘’Let us see traditional mid-wives
increasing in the African continent. We shall as United Nations fight to see
this taking place so that we ease the burden of health professions, allopathic
drugs shortage and the little Health Budgets African countries get. They get
less than 3%. Ministries of Health in Africa have challenges. This is against
the Abuja Declaration of 2002 which proposes them to get 15%,’’.

Civil Society working with African Health
Organisations and those looking at general issues have vowed to amass resources
for the woman.  Among them AFRICARE is
working on a plan to get help. USAID, DFID and Elizabeth Glacier Paediatric
AIDS Foundation have come to the rescue. The Government has planned to give a
full house to the woman. Some Directors from International Organisations still
to be mentioned out names have done and given full package of support. Esther
Zinyoro in conclusion reveals that there are sweet deals in the pipe-line so
far

‘’I have come of age in terms of my work
coming from the talent I have. There are sweet promises. Many organisations are
now certain and confident of importance of our Tradition and Culture. They now
give support to traditional mid-wives work, a move meant to reduce extreme
poverty and vulnerability in terms of maternal health.

‘’ The Government has taken heed to several
calls. I will be working in a full house with all the facilities, health care
equipment and supplies. This will spread the whole continent because still
women play this role in Africa as a whole.’’

The Government of Zimbabwe has completely
failed the Health sector with nurses on strike. Many Doctors have been fired. Women
expecting to deliver find all doors closed at maternity clinics where all the
necessary clinical and medical facilities are seriously lacking. Bevy of
pregnant women are being turned away from clinics and hospitals owned by the Government.
Private clinics and hospitals have become extremely and highly expensive this
causing challenges with pregnant expecting mothers. At the time of going to
Press Government had no solution at all.

source: https://panafricanvisions.com/2019/11/zimbabweapostolic-woman-takes-on-maternity-role-as-government-health-sector-crumbles/

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