By Natalie Joma
Residents in Maphisa, Matobo District have raised concern over the failure by authorities to improve the security situation at Maphisa Hospital following cases of rape of expecting mothers at the health institution.
In July 2021, three expecting mothers were raped by unknown machete wielding assailants while admitted at Maphisa Hospital. Two others were raped at the same health institution in December 2021.
The alleged rapists are yet to be apprehended.
Following the incidents, the Ministry of Health and Child Care said they had partnered the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to improve the security situation at the hospital. Despite the assurances, the security situation at the hospital remains largely compromised, a situation that has reportedly forced some expecting mothers to deliver at home or at smaller clinics for fear of falling victim to the rape gangs.
There is however concern from the community that the smaller clinics lack the capacity to cater for expecting mothers while there are genuine fears of those delivering at home losing their lives.
In an interview with online TV Channel, ZEEMTV, the Director of Matobo Youth Development Initiative Trust, Decent Dube said the security situation at Maphisa hospital remains a cause for concern.
“The police did patrols when the incidents were reported but it was just a reactionary intervention and not a long term plan to curb the crisis and the perpetrators are still at large which makes it even more dangerous for the community as people still believe that they might make a return since nothing has been done to tighten the security. There is need for proper measures to be put in place so as to make sure that such incidents do not happen again. The situation at the hospital has resulted in women opting for other clinics because they fear for their safety at the hospital. This however puts a strain on the small clinics as they cannot accommodate a large number of patients” said Dube.
He said MYDIT will continue engaging authorities to improve security at Maphisa hospital.
During a community meeting organized by Matobo Youth Development Initiative Trust and the Zimbabwe Constitutional Movement (ZICOMO) this month, participants expressed concern over failure by authorities to improve the security situation at Maphisa Hospital.
Besides a weak security system, the hospital has also been affected by erratic water supplies and electricity challenges as well as a critical lack of medication.
Health personnel at Maphisa hospital who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were concerned over the situation at the health institution.
Matabeleland South Police Spokesperson Loveness Mangena, said she was out of office when contacted for a comment on the issue.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr. Jasper Chimedza referred questions to Matabeleland South Provincial Medical Director who was not reachable for comment.
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