Rumbidzayi Zinyuke-Health Reporter
A targeted initiative to increase access to ultra-sound scans by pregnant women across the country has resulted in early detection of pregnancy complications and reduced maternal deaths.
The national Ultrasound scan programme was initiated by the Ministry of Health and Child Care and its partners to provide USS machines to all district hospitals in the country and ensure that expecting mothers can access at least one scan during their pregnancy.
Speaking during a recent Transformation Zone health talk, Dr Cladious Verenga, a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist specialising in foetal medicine, said scans allow for healthcare providers to screen for pregnancy complications and come up with a way of managing the complications.
“The national ultrasound scan programme where we trained health care workers at district level was meant to try and make the services accessible and available to women. There has been an increase in the number of scans that are done outside the cities because of this programme. In the past, women would suffer from very basic and elementary obstetric issues.
“Women would go into labour without even knowing where the placenta was located but through ultra sound scans, placenta localisation is one of the areas which we have trained our district health staff to be able to check. Women can also be told if they have fibroids using ultrasound because it’s a risk factor. I believe that without ultrasound in obstetric care, it is impossible to eradicate the causes of maternal mortality,” he said.
The most common conditions that can affect a pregnant woman is pre-eclampsia, a condition that is marked by high blood pressure during pregnancy and presence of proteins in urine. Scans can also detect defects in the foetus which may cause disability.