First Lady gives vital lessons, goodies to expecting mothers in Mash East

09 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
First Lady gives vital lessons, goodies to expecting mothers in Mash East Health Ambassador and Angel of Hope Foundation founder and patron First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa interacts with a pregnant teenager in her interactive session with expectant mothers during the medical outreach she organised in Mashonaland East. — Pictures: John Manzongo and Edward Zvemisha

The Sunday Mail

Tendai Rupapa in KOTWA

THE Mashonaland East province three-day medical outreach programme, initiated by Health Ambassador and First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa saw long winding queues of patients seeking to access quality medical services that were available for free.

The outreach was conducted by the Angel of Hope Foundation, in collaboration with a team of American medical experts, local doctors and nurses under the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

Thousands of villagers, including those from hard-to-reach areas, benefitted.

The First Lady stayed with the people in the area for the duration of the outreach, encouraging villagers to get their health checked and receive treatment early to boost their chances of survival.

Gogo Jane Nyamare, who lost her leg at a young age due to polio, received a prosthetic leg from the American medical team that was invited by Angel of Hope Foundation patron First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa to conduct a free medical outreach in Mashonaland East

Gogo Jane Nyamare, who lost her leg at a young age due to polio, received a prosthetic leg from the American medical team that was invited by Angel of Hope Foundation patron First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa to conduct a free medical outreach in Mashonaland East

As early as 6am, the medical experts, who were also camped at the site, would start serving people, diagnosing and curing various ailments.

Dr Mnangagwa visited spots where patients were being attended to, imploring them to disclose all their health challenges to the medical teams.

Amai Mnangagwa and those from the American humanitarian section later interacted with expectant mothers, including first-time moms.

The women were given baby preparation kits that had all the essential items. The interaction was pregnant with educative life lessons for mothers.

One of the humanitarian aid team members, who is part of the 25 American doctors and nurses conducting a medical outreach at the invitation of Angel of Hope Foundation patron First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, plays with children during the exercise in Mashonaland East

One of the humanitarian aid team members, who is part of the 25 American doctors and nurses conducting a medical outreach at the invitation of Angel of Hope Foundation patron First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, plays with children during the exercise in Mashonaland East

“Congratulations vasikana as you are expecting. Are you eating healthy? When pregnant, what healthy foods do you eat?” she asked.

In response, Netsai Madondo said: “We eat nutritious traditional dishes for good health.”

One of the women drew laughter when she said her pregnancy craved niceties.

Mhamha, my pregnancy craves all sorts of niceties like potatoes, chicken, fish, chips and sweet things.”

The First Lady encouraged the women to eat readily available healthy foods.

“Let us eat what we grow, like sorghum sadza, millet and use dried vegetables in peanut butter as relish. Let us utilise vegetables that are readily available in our communities. Like in this area where temperatures are high, traditional grains grow well. Pregnancy sometimes makes you shun food but force yourself to eat because it is critical for your health and that of the unborn child,” she said.

She took time to educate first-time mothers on several issues like hygiene and tending to the child from pregnancy to the time after giving birth.

“Be hygienic madzimai. Know how to care for your body by always being smart and cleaning your surroundings so that the child does not contract diseases. Dirtiness spawns diseases. Every baby is a precious gift from God, so look after the baby well. Also, practise exclusive breastfeeding, not to wean the child after two months and feed her/him on formula. Let us breastfeed until the prescribed time is ripe,” she said.

The First Lady also engaged women who already had children.

“What else can we teach first-time mothers?”

In response, Mrs Elizabeth Chigumbu warned against home deliveries.

“I urge women to avoid home deliveries and to stay at the hospitals when they are towards their labour days,” she said.

Dr Mnangagwa concurred.

“True, there are mothers’ waiting shelters at hospitals, and through my Angel of Hope Foundation, I have been building such facilities at hospitals around the country. You can go and stay there when in labour because we do not want to lose lives.”

Another woman said it was unwise to introduce children to foods other than milk before they reach the age of six months because their intestines will be small and delicate.

Amai Mnangagwa responded: “During our time, we would make a child suckle up to two years. Is it what you are doing these days or you are rushing to wean off a child whilst still very young?” the First Lady said.

The statement triggered mixed reactions as some said her generation breastfed for two years while others said they were only getting to one year six months.

Others said they were breastfeeding for up to one year.

“Let us look after our children so that they stay healthy and grow well. Let us breastfeed our children. Tisaite husimbe hwekuyamwisa asikana (let us not be lazy on this). These children are born with their talents, so let them grow well and flourish and explore their talents,” Dr Mnangagwa said.

Another woman left the crowd in stitches when she said: “When pregnant, read lots of books so that you give birth to an intelligent child.”

She encouraged pregnant women to exercise regularly to keep fit.

“I play netball with this big tummy,” she said.

The First Lady shared similar notes, saying exercising was important, even taking a morning walk in the yard was good exercise. “Do not stay asleep always,” she warned.

Mrs Kathy Duncan from America, a mother of five, also had a chat with the pregnant women and reinforced lessons given by the First Lady.

“I am a mother of five children. I understand the period that you are in, ladies. Please take care of your children. I am happy to work with the Angel of Hope Foundation. We have been working with Amai since the inception of the foundation in 2018.

“We are happy to be back in Zimbabwe and we brought some goods for you, including baby preparation kits, which we are going to share with you. Zimbabwe, you are blessed to have a First Lady like Amai, who cares for all of you,” she said.

Dr Mnangagwa and the visitors distributed baby preparation kits among the expectant mothers in a development that saw some of the beneficiaries shedding tears of joy as they had nowhere to start from.

So touched by the interaction were the expectant mothers that they sang praises to the First Lady.

Ndimai vanogona kuronga, kuronga, ndimai vanogona, vane rudo,” they all sang, whilst dancing in celebration.

Mrs Tsitsi Manatsa was over the moon.

“I wish to thank our mother, Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, who has come with baby preparation kits to clothe our children. Some of us had not started buying. We had no way to start yet we are almost due but we thank our mother for doing so ahead of us. She has brought along people from outside the country to come and give us a lot of things, showing the importance and strength of partnerships. Angel of Hope Foundation is helping us a lot in the country. It is touching lives,” she said.

Also overjoyed was Mrs Tsitsi Kandoto of Mudzi.

“I thank our mother for what she has done and the goods that she has given us. She gave us so many lessons and we learnt that when pregnant, we must have a four-star diet grains like maize, millet, sorghum and rapoko. We were encouraged to eat traditional foods which are nutritional and medicinal so that we give birth to bouncing babies. May God bless our mother and grant her a long life so that she continues with her good works,” she said.

Mrs Ratidzai Simon from Nyamukoho said she was grateful to have witnessed the First Lady’s programme.

“I am so grateful because we were taught to take care of the children. We were taught to take care of ourselves and maintain good hygiene practices. Poor hygiene exposes children to diseases and makes them sick. We should breastfeed our children exclusively for six months before introducing other foods. We should breastfeed a child for two years,” she said.

Gogo Hilda Katsande (85) thanked the First Lady in front of the crowd for her deep love.

She could not hide her joy and vowed to always pray for the First Lady to have a prosperous, long and healthy life.

“My child (referring to the First Lady) you have profound love. I have nothing to give to you to show my gratitude but I will always pray for you.

“I want to thank you for this programme. You brought a hospital to our homesteads. You are truly a mother and you have your children at heart.

“The programme you brought for us is commendable. We are grateful for this life-saving gesture. My daughter, may God bless you so that you carry on with your good works,” she said.

She added, “I truly salute you because you are our God-given mother who always comforts us in the time of sorrow. We wish God to bless you for the love you are showering on rural communities and ensuring ordinary people have access to good health and other amenities.” Her statements were resoundingly applauded.

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