Chitungwiza Central Hospital has embarked on an expansion of the neo-natal facilities, which will provide proper accommodation facilities for the mothers as well as improve services for premature or ill infants receiving specialist care in the unit.Â
When Chitungwiza Hospital was opened in 1984, the labour ward was meant to offer maternity services for residents of Chitungwiza and surrounding areas.
However, the catchment area for the hospital has since grown to include areas such as Mahusekwa, Mtoko, Marondera, Beatrice and Chihota, among others.
Currently, there are only 4 delivery bays available yet the requirement is for at least 16.
The hospital records between 30 to 35 deliveries per day and the neo-natal unit has become too small to cater for the growing figures.
Matron Maud Nyatsanza said mothers who deliver premature babies are kept at the hospital while the infants are admitted into the neo-natal unit where they get expert, round-the-clock care.
â€œThe accommodation for the waiting mothers was designed to cater for 10 to 15 mothers at any given day but nowadays the single room is catering for more than 35 mothers at any given time,â€ said Matron Nyatsanza.
Premature babies also need extra monitoring, treatment and care because their bodies will not be fully developed.
Chitungwiza Hospital Clinical Director, Dr Edward Tadros said it is hard for babies born prematurely to stay warm as they are unable to regulate their temperature.
â€œThat is why they are placed in special cots or incubators. Due to the increase in the number of babies being delivered at the hospital, the incubators have become too few,â€ said Dr Tadros.
When this news crew visited the hospital, mothers were over crowded in the small rooms as they monitored or fed their babies.
The rooms under construction are almost complete and mothers are expected to start using the new rooms within the next two months.
However, while the accommodation challenge for the mothers will soon be a thing of the past, the neo-natal unit which houses the incubators needs to be expanded as well.