Lack of a placenta disposal pit is posing a major health threat At Chinguluwe Health Centre in Salima.
An investigation by Nation on Sunday shows that rotten placentas in filled-up pit latrines at the health centre are causing a stench that is attracting dogs who feed on them.
Our visit to the centre on Monday found haphazard disposal of placentas as the designated place is dilapidated, leaving the filled-up pit latrines as the only alternative.
In an interview, a women who had just given birth at the hospital, but sought anonymity, said unless the problem was rectified, she will never again give birth at the hospital, opting for traditional birth attendants.
She said she was surprised that her placenta was still being kept in the labour ward days after delivery.
She claimed medical personnel told her they were waiting for the toilet to subside before they could dispose of the placenta.
“I initially suspected foul play and demanded to have the placenta, but it was producing a bad smell and I was forced to hand it back,” said the mother.
Community member Mdzatalira Mandaaliza said he did not understand why the problem has not been sorted out for four years.
He said members of the community were asked to dig a pit and mould bricks for the construction of a new pit, only fro the project to be abandoned mid-way.
Salima District Hospital spokesperson, Angela Nyongani Sakwata confirmed the problem, but said construction of a pit would commence soon.
“We are aware that Chinguluwe has no placenta pit. We have managed to source funds for the construction of the pit and we are optimistic that it operational by the end of November,” said Sakwata
Two months ago, police in the district arrested a fisherman at the health centre for allegedly offering to buy a placenta from a midwife with the intention of using it as charm for his business.