The state of rape cases in the country took a peak when two pregnant women were raped at Maphisa District Hospital in Matobo District, Matabeleland South Province.
The state media described the suspects as “unknown criminals” who broke into the maternity waiting home through the window in the early hours of Wednesday last week.
The suspects allegedly used the window to sneak into the maternity home where three pregnant women were sleeping.
The victims had only locked the doors and left the windows open. The other woman who was in the room managed to escape.
Matabeleland South acting provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Thabani Mkhwananzi confirmed the incident. He said investigations were still underway.
“I can confirm that we recorded a rape case which occurred in Maphisa District Hospital where rapists unlawfully entered a room where three pregnant women who were waiting for their delivery day were sleeping and raped two women and the other one managed to escape. We have not yet made an arrest connected to that case and investigations are still underway,” he said.
Women who are at least eight months pregnant in rural areas move into waiting homes in hospitals as they await delivery. This is meant to ensure timely medical care as transportion might be an issue on the day of delivery from some remote areas.
Matabeleland South Provincial Medical Director Dr Rudo Chikodzore, without giving figures, said cases of women being raped at provincial hospital maternity homes have been escalating during the past few months with cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) also escalating in growth points.
“The raping of women has been an issue at the growth point and around the district so there has been a multi-sectoral response to GBV and sexual assault involving the police and all stakeholders in the Rural District Council.
Police are doing patrols around the growth point. We have also educated the community to avoid travelling at night to avoid being mugged or raped,” she said.
Dr Chikodzore said they were planning on repairing vandalised perimeter fences and put on burglar bars on windows and screen doors to tighten security at the hospital.
“We have intensified patrols by our guards and we plan to repair the vandalised perimeter fence, erect burglar bars, and screen doors in all departments. The ministry has also installed a huge solar plant so we need to erect street lights within the institution as well,” she said.
Maphisa Rural District Council (RDC) chief executive officer Mr Elvis Sibanda said they have contacted the Ministry of Health and Child Care and police to tighten security at hospitals. -Sunday News