Zimbabwe: Mothers Not Bound By Law to Sleep On Hospital Benches - Ziyambi

Zimbabwe Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi.
9 September 2019

Government does not accommodate breastfeeding mothers whose children would have been admitted at hospitals, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told Parliament.

Ziyambi is Leader of Government in Parliament and was responding to a question from opposition MDC legislator and vice president Lynnette Karenyi-Kore who had asked if government had a plan to help mothers who have resorted to sleeping on benches on the floor to attend to their sick children.

"It is true we do not accommodate (breastfeeding) mothers at hospitals but only their children. They are not bound by any law to sleep on the benches. They have a choice. We have no policy that binds them in any way to sleep on those benches," said Ziyambi.

The Justice Minister claimed it was a global practice that public health institutions do not accommodate mothers of either young children or babies as is standard procedure. Ziyambi added that he was not aware of any deaths at the public institutions due to malnutrition as mothers are being fed so that they breastfeed well.

Karenyi-Kore pressed the Minister to explain why the policy on the mothers' welfare has not been considered and urged government to consider the plight of women.

"Can the Minister do a fact finding tour at Harare Hospital to see how mothers are suffering," the MP said.

Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese also weighed in and told Ziyambi that government was being insensitive on the matter.

"Government is being so insensitive on this issue. There should be a policy that helps to cater for them," Gonese said.

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