It’s difficult to fathom, but the sad reality is a staggering number of mothers and babies in Zimbabwe die during birth from causes that are often preventable.
“Ninety-seven percent of babies who arrive into our nursery have hypothermia,” said Dr. Azza Mashumba of Parirenyatwa General Hospital.
Mashumba is a doctor in Zimbabwe who is working extremely hard in order to create change.
“We’ve got a lot of sick patients who have a lot of needs and we’re not able to meet those needs because we don’t have all the materials we need,” said Dr. Mashumba. “We’ve had a lot of support from donors, from the government (and) things are getting better, but we have a lot of gaps that need to be filled in.”
Working to fill in the gaps is Thrive Project Zimbabwe – a Canadian non-profit devoted to achieving a vision of a Zimbabwe where babies thrive.
“Health care is in a dire situation right now in Zimbabwe, and very little funding is going into it,” said Kerry Grier, co-founder of Thrive Project Zimbabwe. “One of the hospitals we’re supporting saw four thousand premature babies in two years.”
“We’re having a lot of issues for just basic supplies for infection control, gloves, hand sanitizer – not to mention scrubs. You know I’ve been told that some of the doctors are taping plastic onto their clothing to go into the O.R.,” Grier said.
Thrive has been connecting with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre recently and getting some additional support.
“Sunnybrook have given us 32 incubators,” said Grier. “At the moment they have three babies per incubator in Zimbabwe … So what we’re doing is doubling what they have in the country so that we can save a lot more little lives.”
Each incubator is packed with baby clothes, medical supplies and notes of encouragement ready to be shipped overseas.
“The time that the volunteers are spending packing these incubators and transporting them to us is going to make a huge difference,” said Dr. Mashumba. “Thank you so, so much.”