BY RICHARD MUPONDE
COVID-19 quarantine centres around the country have posed a dilemma to pregnant women as most of them are not equipped to cater for people in that condition.
Isolation centres in the country are not only situated at health institutions, but other converted facilities which reportedly have no medical equipment except ablution facilities and beds to cater for pregnant women.
Even those at health institutions are reportedly ill-equipped to cater for pregnant women in the event of complications as they do not have theatres or oxygen.
Pregnant women, who test positive, according to reports, face torrid times because the quarantine centres lack facilities.
Those who experience complications or deliver in these centres are reportedly referred to bigger health institutions in towns and cities which have all the necessary equipment.
A health official, who is in the COVID-19 national taskforce, and spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the dilemma faced by pregnant women at quarantine centres.
“For your own information, this time around, we have recorded quite a number of pregnant women who tested COVID-19 positive with some of them needing to be quarantined. Although I don’t have the exact figures, I can assure you that the number has increased,” he said.
“However, the dilemma we are faced with as health officials is that most of our quarantine centres have no equipment to cater for these women in the event of them going into labour or facing complications.”
He said they were mainly attending to those who would have delivered and were known to have tested positive for COVID-19.
COVID-19 taskforce national co-ordinator Agnes Mahomva yesterday said the issue was being handled by the Labour and Social Welfare ministry working with the Health and Child Care ministry.
“I am doing things far higher than that. This issue becomes more of an administrative matter which is being looked after by the Social Welfare ministry and the Health ministry. They are the ones responsible for quarantine and isolation centres,” Mahomva said.
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said: “As COVID-19 spreads in communities including in the isolation and quarantine centres, the government should adopt stricter protective protocols and guidelines for the safety of vulnerable pregnant women for the safe delivery of maternal and child health delivery services during the pandemic.”