By Abdurrazak Muktar Makarfi
Maternal mortality is one of the devastating and heartbroken issues, especially in Africa, where we have many unqualified and fake health personnel, which leads to such menace. In the community where I belong, we don’t value ante-natal. Many think it is not that important; some consider it a waste of time, resources and energy.
Most times, lack of awareness to some people is negligence and ignorance to many. I once heard someone saying, how could I allow my wife to deliver in hospital while she’s fit and healthy? I don’t blame him even once because our health personnel’s attitude discourages many people from going to the hospital for ante-natal.
The attitude of health personnel in the hospital is absurd. I sometimes feel like absconding whenever I hear a nurse screaming and yelling at pregnant women; some even raise their hands to beat them! This happens at the time of delivery, which makes it more unfortunate.
Government, religious leaders, community elders and traditional rulers advocate that daughters must be educated, especially in the health sector, where we are lacking. However, to my dismay, when they are, they turn black eyes and become arrogant by yelling at women to show they are superior. Some of those they shout at are old enough to be their grandmothers. What a shock!
On the other hand, research has shown that 99% of maternal deaths occur in developing countries, but why? It may be because of the complications that occur during pregnancy and childbirth. Most of the complications can be managed, but the woman may end up dying due to a lack of skilful health personnel.
Furthermore, most maternal deaths are caused by the following: Severe-bleeding (mostly bleeding after childbirth), which can kill a healthy woman within hours if left unattended. Injecting oxytocin immediately after childbirth effectively reduces the risk of bleeding.
Infection after childbirth can be eliminated if good hygiene is practised and early signs of infection are recognised and treated promptly.
Pre-eclampsia should be detected and appropriately managed before the onset of convulsions (eclampsia)and other life-threatening complications. Administering drugs such as magnesium sulphate can prevent pregnant women from developing eclampsia.
Poverty-stricken women living in remote and slum areas are least unlikely to receive adequate health care; this is likely my region where we have a low number of skilled health workers.
Cultural practices: These are the things like local surgeries (episiotomy called “yankan gishiri” in Hausa) done by traditional birth attendants without or with inadequate knowledge about the birth canal. They remove the vulva and vaginal, causing damage to some tissues resulting in fistula formation and easily causing infection, which may lead to maternal mortality.
I hope my people will heed some of the things I mentioned as the direct or indirect causes of maternal mortality, i.e. death of a woman while pregnant or within forty-two (42) days after delivery.
Abdurrazak Muktar Makarfi wrote via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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