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Harare Central Hospital midwives have threatened to strike if their salary and allowance grievances are not addressed.

Midwives at the hospital went on a two-day strike last week in protest against non-payment of their allowances from the Health Transition Fund and they resumed duty on Saturday after promises to rectify the problem were made. The Health Transition Fund was established in 2011 to pay midwives’ incentives among other things.

“We were on strike on Thursday and Friday and we came back to work yesterday (Saturday) after we were promised to receive our allowances from the Health Transition Fund.

“We have not been given our allowances for the past six months and we will go on strike any time from now if our grievances are not addressed,” said an anonymous source.

Midwives from the hospital also absconded the Zimbabwe Confederation of Midwives 19th scientific conference and Annual General meeting that was held in Kadoma recently as they were on strike. The midwives also want an increase in the staff establishment in maternal wards and the establishment of posts of midwifery within the ministry.

Midwives who attended a three-day conference in Kadoma said it was disheartening that despite the shortage of midwives in maternal wards, hospital administrators were further worsening staff shortages.

Zicom president Ms Lilian Dodzo said hospital administrators were taking midwives to general wards, posing a threat to maternal health service delivery.

“It has become a norm of the day that nurse administrators move midwives from maternity departments to general wards, yet we need more midwives to promote respectful maternity care,” she said.

She said maternal deaths could be avoided if the Government provided a system that caters for midwives’ concerns which are not being addressed.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Nurses Association president Mrs Regina Smith who is also a Health Services board member said midwives were the most affected by the shortage of nurses’ establishments.

“Midwives are the most affected by the current establishment of nursing posts. The midwives-patient ratio at some centres calls for urgent improvement. Some facilities have two midwives who save more than eight patients delivering at the same time. This can only be improved by increasing establishment.”

Zimbabwe currently has the highest number of maternal deaths, with expectant mothers dying during delivery estimated at 614 for every 100 000 live births.

Source : The Herald