Coronavirus: Seven babies die in one night at Zimbabwe hospital

Harare Central Hospital in Zimbabwe saw seven babies born stillborn on Monday.
Harare Central Hospital in Zimbabwe saw seven babies born stillborn on Monday. Credit: Google Maps

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Seven babies were stillborn at a hospital in Zimbabwe after treatment was delayed due to staffing issues.

Nurses are on strike across the country because of a lack of personal protective equipment and other concerns.

This has led to the Harare Central Hospital in the Zimbabwean capital to become overwhelmed.

The country has been hit by a coronavirus procurement scandal, with the health minister sacked over allegations that multi-million dollar contracts were awarded to buy equipment at over-inflated prices.

The deaths on Monday at Harare Central Hospital were first published by Dr Peter Magombeyi.

He tweeted: "We have been robbed of our future, including our unborn babies. Please stop the looting."

A doctor with knowledge of Harare Central Hospital told the BBC that eight Caesareans were carried out and seven babies were stillborn.

They said the deaths were not “isolated incidents” but due to some of the smaller clinics having to close due to staff shortages.

In turn, that has led to the Harare Central Hospital’s maternity clinic becoming overwhelmed.

Thousands of nurses working in public hospitals have been taking industrial action since mid-June, part of frequent work stoppages by health workers who earn less than £40 a month and allege they are forced to work without adequate protective equipment such as gloves and masks.

Dozens of nurses have been taking part in protests against the lack of protective equipment.

Zimbabwe’s coronavirus cases have been rising in recent weeks, mostly recorded at centre where people retuning to the country from neighbouring South Africa are kept in mandatory isolation.

So far, Zimbabwe has more than 2,800 confirmed cases and 41 deaths.