The pregnant woman who died at Parirenyatwa Hospital could not be helped quickly due to overwhelming numbers of pregnant women who are shunning local clinics.

The chairperson of the committee set up to investigate circumstances leading to the death of Ms Sharon Manyonho, Dr Maximilian Dzowa, said Manyonho was the 17th patient waiting to get into the labour ward that day. The ward has a carrying capacity of only 10 women at any given time.

Dr Dzowa said the late Ms Manyonho had to wait on a bench, which already had six other expecting women, waiting for their chance to get into the labour ward.

“From 2am until 4am, no space could be found for the late Ms Manyonho. Nurses were still busy with other deliveries. Two of the four doctors had to assist with deliveries as well.

“The third doctor was attending to admissions who were coming in. The fourth doctor was running around trying to organise blood for another life-threatening case, which had been referred from Mutare and needed to go into theatre.”

Dr Dzowa said it was only around 6am that a space for the late Ms Manyonho was found, but her condition had deteriorated and efforts to resuscitate her were futile, resulting in her death.