Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba has noted with concern reports of women delivering outside healthcare facilities. This is as a result of some clinics not operating 24hours leading to risking both the life of the mother and that of the newborn baby.

The department says not all of their clinics operate 24hrs. But a process of activating the clinics to operate 24hrs was underway b. Unfortunately covid-19 affected the project negatively leading to a regress.

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The main reasons for the failure to operate 24 hours includes the following:

  1. Staff shortages. Clinical Nurse Practitioners or at least midwives who can function independently at a PHC level are required to operate 24/7. These professionals must be rostered to cover both day and night duty.
  2. Reliable security which can only be achieved when communities are involved is needed.
  3. Logistics including a generator and others.


As a result of those three main challenges and others, the department resolved on the following:

  1. Prioritize all Healthcare centers to operate 24/7.
  2. Followed by clinics within busy communities.
  3. Cluster clinics within a certain radius can have a call system for them to operate 24/7.

The patient especially pregnant women have the following responsibilities for them to avoid such incidents:

  1. When a woman misses her periods, she must go to the clinic and do a pregnancy test. If she chooses to keep the baby she must start Antenatal clinic visits before 20 weeks and not wait until the pregnancy is visible.
  2. Antenatal visits do not only focus on the health of the mother and the baby. However, during the visits Midwives usually advise on place of delivery and mode of transportation and any other logistics.
  3. For what we call Primigravida or first time deliveries it takes between 8hrs to even up to 16hrs from onset of labor pains until fully dilated when the baby is ready to be delivered and for multi-gravity or experienced mothers it takes up to 10hrs.


This simply means if whenever a woman starts to experience labor pains, she doesn’t wait until the pains are worse while self-progressing herself at home. There is no woman who will deliver outside our facilities, there is no place in our province which you need 10hrs to reach.

The department has appealed to every pregnant woman as supported by their spouses, families to comply with Antinatal visits where they will be told on the expected date of delivery or EDD. They must remain vigilant on that date and once labor pains start they must not wait and progress themselves.

“We are currently facing serious budget cuts which will continuously affect our programs on improving service delivery. Hence we want to work together with our communities to try to avert some of these negative incidents”, said MEC Ramathuba.

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