22 March 2018
Ramaphosa urges SA to embrace foreigners
Vicious Lacoste, G40 row rocks graft body
Mugabe’s NPF planning million-man march
ED amnesty: Gumbura, Kereke miss out
Govt threatens to block doctors’ salaries
Khupe against MDC reunion: Prof Ncube
Zanu PF legislator praises reviled POSA
Disband ZEC, let UN run elections: ZCTU
Tobaccco sales to top 200m kgs: TIMB
44 African countries sign free trade pact
Jah Prayzah on Jah Cure collaboration
Zimbabwe's powerful music of struggle
Cricket: UAE shatter Zim WCup dreams
Zambia beat Zimbabwe Warriors on penalties
Mugabe spoke for the marginalised, but
Whither ED, how tactful art thou?
2018: of humour, fair analysis, healthy race
ZimDiaspora: Bum cleaners, runaway fathers?

40,000 babies born prematurely: Ministry

08/12/2017 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
Doctors: Pay us in US$, or we strike
Govt can’t pay $50k for Ingustheni drugs
Zim blood prices highest in SADC
MPs: Like Mugabe, Health Act must go
State agents threaten striking doctors
Civil servants reject govt health scheme

HARARE: At least 40,000 of the nearly half a million babies delivered in country’s health facilities annually are born prematurely, a ministry of health and child care official has revealed.

Of the pre-term births figure, about 1,200 die before reaching four weeks due to result of mainly pneumonia and prematurity.

Speaking during belated world pneumonia and preterm babies’ commemorations in Harare Thursday, director maternal health Bernard Madzima said Zimbabwe was still behind international targets on reducing deaths caused by these conditions.

“Annually we deliver about 400,000 to 500,000 babies and about 10 percent of them are pre-term. That’s a big number,” he said on the side-lines of the commemorations.

“These babies when born are susceptible to infections, diarrhoea, temperature and all diseases which kill babies.

“At least 55 babies from every 1,000 births die before reaching the age of five. 29 die before reaching four weeks. They (preterm babies) can’t feed normally and need help.

“We have a big job to reduce deaths. It doesn’t mean if a baby is born prematurely it means they should die, they should be assisted to live.”

According to Madzima, there is need for more resources to ensure conditions required for the babies to survive are met.

“There are what we call essential interventions for example kangaroo mother care, use incubators and ensure their environment is clean, each baby has their own bed, they need assisted feeding and the food because they can’t feed on their own. That is done to preserve lives.

“Our provincial and district hospitals do not have capacity to deal with the conditions so they end up referring cases to central hospitals and thereby congesting them.”

Sustainable Development Goals target reduction of deaths to 12 babies for those under a month old and 25 for the under-fives.

“We did not fulfil the Millennium Development Goals. We are behind and we need to step up to get there,” said Madzima.

Zimbabwe is among the countries with the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world.

Harare Hospital maternity matron Dade Getrude Pedzisai said the institution is overwhelmed with babies needing special care with the key requirements including food, oxygen and medicines.

“The beds are few, sometimes we don’t have enough equipment needed for the drips to function properly because these babies need assistance to feed. There are child mothers who also need serious assistance. In one week alone, we can have about 30 pre-term babies,” Pedzisai said.


“The nurses are few. We need more resources because there many babies who die. All pre-term babies need oxygen, then we have term babies who also need oxygen so the equipment may not be enough."

All babies requiring surgery are also referred to the hospital, being the only one in the country with a paediatric surgeon, further straining the capacity of the under-resourced referral facility.

Email this to a friend Printable Version Discuss This Story
Share this article:

Digg it






Face Book



comments powered by Disqus
RSS NewsTicker