As the coronavirus spreads, front line workers have borne the brunt of the virus with lots of health workers testing positive in recent weeks and days. The fact is not helped by the fact that most these doctors and nurses often have to work without adequate protective equipment if they even have any. Over the weekend Edith Opperman joined institutions that have had to curtail their operations due to the virus.

The clinic shut its doors after a number of nurses (it’s not clear how many) tested positive for the virus. This left scores of pregnant women stranded. Dozens of pregnant women some of them in early stages of labour could be seen standing outside the shut gates of the institution as they peered inside. The guard at the place said he did not know when this would reopen.

Mwana vangu anga akanyoresa pano saka zvino handichazive kuti toita sei? Sezvamurikungonawo atori mulabour izvozvi. Tirikunzwa kuti Parirenyatwa havasi kutambira vanhu. Tatambura veduwee! Regai timbononzwe kuGomo.

[My daughter had booked for her delivery with Edith now we don’t know what to do as you can clearly see she is already in labour. We hear they are not taking in patients at Parirenyatwa hospital. Let us try Harare Central hospital.

One of the women standing outside the gate.

Not the first time

This is not the first time the plight of pregnant women has taken a back seat due to some crisis. For a good part of last year Edith Opperman’s maternity hospital was not taking patients due to equipment shortages and a crippling nurse strike. This forced these women to risk their lives in home births and makeshift shelters.