Mkoba Polyclinic in Gweru is the largest clinic supported by Antelope Park, providing medical services to a catchment area of 50,000 people. The clinic deals with around 160 births in a month; an average of five babies every day. This means that, more often than not, our medical volunteers are able to be present at a birth to provide support and encouragement to the mother. Afterwards, they assist clinic staff by helping to weigh and dress the baby. All volunteers will carry these memories with them forever but for some, this experience can prove to be life-changing.
Through volunteering at Antelope Park, Lisbeth Torheim from Norway has made an important life decision: ‘When I walked into the room where the woman was due to give birth, the midwife was doing the preparations. I was asked to stand beside the woman and hold her head. When the first contractions started, I cheered her on with the pushing. It was amazing to see the baby’s head on its way out. I was speechless, nervous and excited at the same time. I was worried for the baby and if there were any complications. The mother held my hand firmly. After 10 to 20 minutes and more contractions, the baby was finally out. It was a boy. Witnessing a birth is one of them most amazing experiences that I've had! I held the baby up by the mother’s chest. The mother thanked me and was thrilled. Then I went to another room to weigh the baby and clothe it. The mother was truly grateful and thanked me several more times. I am so happy that I got to take part in this experience. It will be a memory for life and I have decided I want to pursue to become a midwife when I get home.’
ALERT, through our ACT division, operates a project under a Memorandum of Understanding with the local healthcare authority to provide both manpower and material support to clinics in Gweru. Situated in the high density area of Mkoba where the majority of the city’s population live, these clinics are under staffed and poorly resourced. As most people don’t have access to private healthcare, they have nowhere else to go. You can help support this vital service by sponsoring a clinic here. Your funds will ensure that the clinic buildings are a safe environment for those in need, and will provide resources such as medical equipment to enhance the effectiveness of the clinics' work in the community.