by Watmore Makokoba
Villagers in rural Hwedza face a serious health risk due to the decline in health delivery system, several rural residents especially pregnant women are forced to travel long distances on foot to access maternity services as clinics are located far away from where they live.
Pregnant women living in this area say they are in a dilemma because most of them end up delivering in unsafe and unhealthy homes with the help of untrained midwives, an anomaly which has seen an increase in infant mortality rate in the area.
One of the villagers Faith Zaranyika pleaded with political leaders of that area to urgently heed their plea saying women, children and people living with disabilities are the most recipients of these problems.
“We are in a dilemma here in Hwedza, I live along the road and I have helped many pregnant women who reach delivery stage before reaching the clinic because the only clinic in this area is far away and the road is in bad state,
“Poor health delivery system is impacting more on women , people living with disabilities, children and those living with sensitive conditions such as HIV and AIDS as well as those affected with Tuberculosis (TB) , these vulnerable people are failing to get drugs and access services on time putting their lives in danger”, she said
Another villager, Jestina Mbirimi who lives in Swerohuku village in Ruzani ward said besides the Clinic being far away from where they live, the clinic is not conducive for important life threatening exercises like delivery and childcare
“There are no enough delivery rooms, nursing staff and accessories, something needs to be done to avert this problem and also, we need a growth point in our area because we travel long distances to buy critical necessities which we are supposed to be getting with convenience”, said Mbirimi
Villagers under Ruzani ward travel more than 20 kilometers to reach the nearest clinic from where they live.
Thandiwe Chidavarume Director for Rural Women`s Assembly (RWA), a non-governmental organisation which works in rural areas to uplift their lives and empower them to do self-help projects said the deplorable living conditions need to be addressed in parliament as they are impacting negatively mostly on vulnerable groups such as women and children.
“ These conditions hinder development of rural areas, even though they affect all people living in rural set-ups, we have discovered that they negatively impact on women and children, hence we expect to hear these issues being debated in parliament so that livelihoods are saved from associated catastrophes,” she said.
Improving women access to health services and facilities is enshrined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to United nations research findings only half of women in developing regions receive the recommended amount of health care they need.