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World class women's clinic for Bulawayo

by Staff reporter
16 Oct 2019 at 07:20hrs | Views
MPILO Central Hospital is set to have the first stillbirth prevention clinic in sub-Saharan Africa under a special scheme to address high numbers of stillbirths in the country.

The hospital is working on the project in conjunction with the United Kingdom's University of Manchester and the Lugina Africa Midwives Research Network (Lamrin).

Mpilo's Clinical Director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya yesterday met a team of midwife researchers and doctors from the UK university and Lamrin to finalise logistics ahead of the special opening of the clinic on November 1.

Speaking in an interview, Dr Ngwenya said the project will improve maternal health service delivery and reduce the high numbers of stillbirths at the hospital.

"We are very happy that we are receiving such specialised people from overseas with very good experience. They are very experienced in dealing with still births. This will be a specialised clinic, the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa. We are having unacceptably high levels of still births in Southern Africa. We are setting up this specialised clinic for women who have lost babies before and we are encouraging women to visit this clinic as we need to save a lot of lives. As a hospital we are happy that it has come to us and it will serve the region. This will mean that more people are likely to be born alive. We want women to go home with their babies because we understand the pain that a mother goes through when she has to go back home empty handed," said Dr Ngwenya.

Professor Dame Tina Lavender of the University of Manchester, who is leading the team, in an interview with The Chronicle following a briefing with the hospital's school of midwifery senior staff said the clinic was a pilot project meant to prevent still births in the country. She said the project was part of a feasibility study they were working on which will be taken to other countries if successful.

"We have identified areas where we can have an impact. In Zimbabwe we found that 80 percent of women who have had one previous stillbirth or more are more likely to have another still birth so we realised that we need to screen those women more and to give them more support during their pregnancies to ensure that they and their babies are safe throughout the pregnancies," she said.

"We are therefore setting up this clinic called Thembani. We will work with local women and midwives so that women who had stillbirths before can receive care. We learnt that stillbirth rates in the country are at 24, while at the hospital they stand at 30, which is way higher which is one of our reasons for housing this project at this hospital."

Professor Lavender said as part of the initiative, there will be specialised training for midwives at the hospital conducted in conjunction with the National University of Science and Technology.

"We also aim to train local midwives so that they are able to give enough support to women, even when this particular programme is complete. We are also looking at bereavement care as we intend to ensure that women grieve appropriately the loss of their loved ones as it is no easy thing to lose a child," she said.

Source - chroncile