Home » Governance » Cash Strapped Marondera Council Shuts Down Maternity Clinic

FINANCIALLY crippled Marondera municipality has closed the maternity wing at its Nyameni Clinic, a move that has aersely impacted prenatal care and the safe delivery of hundreds of expected mothers in the town.

The clinic’s maternity wing was recently shut down after the council terminated the contracts of seven nurses who were working there. Before the closure, the clinic was recording an average of five births per day.

The local council has been struggling to the salaries to its workforce due to poor revenues.

Expectant mothers in Nyameni and the surrounding suburbs such as Cherutombo now have to seek medical attention at Dombotombo Clinic, another council operated clinic.

However, reports indicate that some of the expectant mothers are facing life threatening complications while on the way to the clinic.

Following a visit to Nyameni Clinic last week, Joel Biggie Matiza, the Mashonaland East provincial affairs minister said there was need for government to assist local councils in the payment of nurses’ salaries.

At the clinic Matiza was told that some women were giving birth in ambulances on the way to Dombotombo putting the lives of the mothers and babies at a high risk.

Investigations show that operations at most council-run institutions have been seriously affected as the local authority’s revenues have suffered due to the biting economic situation in the country.

The council is also struggling to have its 2015 budget approved by the minister of local government, public works and national housing, Ignatius Chombo.

The ministers has repeatedly turned down the town’s budget proposals as they do not adhere to the government’s recommendation of 70 percent of revenues going to service delivery and 30 percent to salaries.

The council is currently generating an average of US$320,000 a month of which US$300,000 goes to salaries.

A source in the local authority said the remaining $20,000 was inadequate to cover the council’s basic daily service delivery requirements, a situation which left residents at the risk of diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

“We have since stopped refuse collection in the residential areas as there is no fuel to carry out the service while we are battling daily in repairing burst sewer pipes as they are no funds to carry out the exercise,” the council source said.

He said although both the council’s senior management and councillors were seized with coming up with a budget that Chombo could approve, it was proving to be a mammoth task.

“Our operations have been hindered. We are static as there is no action we can take because anything that we should do is guided by the 2015 budget.

“No financial institution is willing to lend us funds as we owe them millions of dollars which we are failing to repay,” added the council official said.

“Government officials feel that we are lying to them and playing games but the truth is that our hands are tied as we have very little coming in from revenue collection and most of it is being channelled to the wage bill,” he added.

Source : New Zimbabwe