MORE than 100 pregnant women have been quarantined in Matabeleland North after they tested positive for Covid-19.
Matabeleland North Provincial Medical Director Dr Munekai Padingani confirmed that 110 expecting mothers had been quarantined at three hospitals in the province.
Seventy of these are at Binga District Hospital, 37 are at Tsholotsho District Hospital while three are at Lukosi Hospital in Hwange.
Dr Padingani said most of the women were in stable condition and what is also positive is that the virus does not affect the unborn babies.
“Yes we have cases among pr_egnant women and they are quarantined. They are in a stable condition and many have mild symptoms,” said Dr Padingani.
He said the affected women were negative when they checked into the hospitals and may have contracted the virus while going to buy foodstuffs from business centres near the hospitals.
Dr Padingani said that health authorities are now restricting movement as a way of preventing the spread of the virus.
He said expecting mothers are tested when they check in to waiting shelters at respective health institutions.
“Those mothers go out to buy food and they meet different people hence they have contracted the virus. When they come in we test them but now we have to keep them inside and restrict movement. The virus doesn’t affect the unborn babies and it’s only if the mother delivers while positive that measures have to be taken to protect the baby,” said Dr Padingani.
Respective Covid-19 taskforce teams at the affected institutions are now appealing to well-wishers for assistance with food for the women since they can no longer move around to buy for themselves.
Dr Padingani said no pregnant woman has been vaccinated in the province as the country is yet to adopt World Health Organisation (WHO) advice to also vaccinate expecting mothers.
WHO recently released guidelines certifying the vaccines safe for use by everyone above the age of 17, including pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women were not being vaccinated as there were fears the drug could have adverse effects on the unborn and breastfeeding babies.
Meanwhile, Dr Padingani said the province had noted an improvement in the uptake of vaccines by the general public after a slow start in the past fortnight. He could not however give updated statistics as he was out of office. As of Tuesday, more than 100 000 people had received their first dose in the province, with close to 60 000 fully vaccinated.
The province was recently given 65 000 doses.
Victoria Falls city has already reached herd immunity after more than 60 per cent of the population was vaccinated when the Government rolled out mass vaccination in the city in March.
Health authorities have been concerned about the slow uptake especially in Hwange which is the province’s hotspot.
Hwange district has 556 active cases and 416 of these are in Hwange urban while 140 are in Victoria Falls.
A total of 45 525 had received the first dose in the district on Tuesday while 28 774 had gotten the second dose.
Victoria Falls had 22 226 people who had received the first dose on Tuesday while 17 391 had received the second dose. —Chronicles