SILOBELA District Hospital has turned some of its wards into staff quarters as part of efforts to address its accommodation crisis.
By Simon Phiri
The institution, which is the Kwekwe District referral hospital, has 46 staff members, who are in dire need of decent houses for their families.
The rural medical institution has 25 staff quarters, with six of them condemned as unfit for human habitation.
Of the 47 staff members, 16 are sharing houses, while seven are still living in the condemned houses.
Kwekwe district medical officer Adrian Musiya said that the accommodation crisis at the hospital required urgent government attention.
Musiya said five staff members were currently squatting in side wards, with nine others temporarily staying in a waiting mothers’ shelter.
“Some of our staff members have been forced to share a single room because there is nothing we can do about it,” he said.
“We have a driver who is using a side ward, as well as three nurses and a laboratory technician who are also using the side ward because they could not find alternative accommodation. There is nothing we can do about it because they are critical staff.
“We have been forced to convert one of our waiting mothers’ shelters to accommodate the staff.
“We realised that it is pointless to have a mothers’ waiting shelter when the midwives and other staff do not have anywhere to stay in the vicinity of the hospital. We are now referring expecting mothers to Nyoni Clinic, where there is a mothers’ waiting shelter.”
Nyoni Clinic is about 8 kilometres from the hospital.
The medical institution has a catchment of over 40 000 people, and as a referral institution it services other outlying areas.
However, the absence of the mothers’ waiting shelter at Kwekwe District’s referral institution may result in the number of mothers giving birth at home increasing, thereby reversing the gains made in reducing the child mortality rate.
Statistics obtained from the Ministry of Health and Child Care show that in 2013, 27% of women in the province delivered at home, a development which puts mothers and the unborn babies at risk due to complications which may arise during labour.
Forty-nine mothers in Midlands province reportedly died due to pregnancy-related complications in the same year.-Southerneye