The establishment of shelters for waiting mothers in the country has presented an opportunity for health authorities to achieve the set target of reducing the country’s newborn mortality statistics by over 100 percent within the next three years.

The first 24 hours of a new born baby are the most critical moments that separate it from life and death. 

“Young lives can succumb to infections and pneumonia with revelations that a third of all the under five deaths occur within the first 30 days after delivery,” Family Health Director in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Bernard Madzima said.

Since 2009, Zimbabwe has managed to record a huge decline in under five mortality rates from a high of 94 per 1000 live births to the current 55 per 1000 live births, attributable to various intervention programmes including the establishment of waiting mothers shelters.

“These notable strides by government working in partnership with various development partners provide hope for a nation that targets to reduce newborn deaths from the current 29 per 1000 live births to 12 per 1000 live births within the next three years until 2020,” Dr Madzima added.

Nurses in charge at  Mutizhe Clinic in Gutu and St Joseph Clinic in Chiredzi, Sister Rosemary Reza and Sister Anesu Mupfana concurred that given that the health and survival of newborns is closely linked and interdependent with that of their mothers, the establishment of waiting mothers’ shelters is an important conduit to achieve enhanced mother and child health.

Institutionalised deliveries have allowed for improved post natal care for both the mother and child within 48 hours of birth, thereby assisting the country to work towards achieving set goals under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 4.