The Sunday Mail

Debra Matabvu

WOMEN, especially those in rural areas, need more information on the importance of giving birth in hospitals to safeguard their lives and the babies’ to reduce maternal mortality, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has said.

Speaking at the official handover of the refurbished Rosa Rural Hospital in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central, the First Lady said there was need for health personnel and Government officials to work together and educate pregnant women on the dangers of giving birth at home.

“I have been told that most women are still having home deliveries, which are very dangerous to both the mother and child,” said the First Lady.

“I was speaking to the Member of Parliament (Sydney Chidamba) of this area that there is need for collaborative efforts to eradicate maternal mortality.

“Members of Parliament who represent people should be prepared to share the information of safe deliveries and having clean surroundings so that we curb diseases and maternal mortality,” she said.

The First Lady, who is also the ambassador for maternal and child health, said it was important for mothers to prioritise African foods.

Hospitals and other health service centres, she added, should equally embrace healthy indigenous foods.

She said communities should come up with projects that uplift the lives of women as such initiatives contributed to a healthy and well-nourished society.

The First Lady is working on various empowerment projects such as castor beans and small grains for women in the area.

She promised to launch the second phase of the inheritance laws programme, which enables women and children to interface with law experts on the contentious issue of inheritance.

The programme was launched early this year after realising how widows and orphans lose property in the event of the death of their husbands and parents.

“We will be bringing back the inheritance laws phase two, which was launched in February this year to educate women and orphans on their rights.

“It will be done in this constituency, although in a different area, so I urge all those who came to the first phase to attend so that they receive further assistance,” added the First Lady.

Mashonaland Central provincial medical director Dr Clemence Tshuma thanked the First Lady for promoting universal health access through various health initiatives she has been taking countrywide.

“The First Lady has been undertaking various initiatives such as cervical cancer screening and donating various health equipment which promote health access to all.

“It is true, no woman should die whilst giving life; that is why we are grateful for the rehabilitation of this hospital.

“This helps promoting health care access to everyone, especially to women and children.”

He also thanked her for helping the rural hospital to procure medicines and drugs.

Mashonaland Central Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Monica Mavhunga applauded the First Lady for spearheading development in the province.

“The rehabilitation of the hospital by the First Lady is part of the projects she is carrying out around the country and we applaud that. She has various projects she is carrying out in the province, with projects in places such as Kanyemba beginning to bear fruit,” she said.

“By doing so, she is complementing Government efforts in developing the area and we have seen the rehabilitation of roads in the province as well the introduction of Zupco buses in the area.”

Mashonaland Central Zanu-PF chairperson Cde Kazembe Kazembe thanked Amai Mnangagwa for the various projects she is undertaking around the country, which include the girl-child interfaces.

Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Perrance Shiri; Deputy Speaker of Parliament Tsitsi Gezi; Bindura South Member of Parliament Remigio Matangira; Mazowe Central MP Sydney Chidamba; Senator Chen Chimutengwende; Chief Negomo and  herdmen also attended the event.