UNDERFUNDED FACILITIES AND CULTURAL TABOOS MEAN THAT GIVING BIRTH CAN BE A DEADLY GAME OF RUSSIAN ROULETTE FOR WOMEN IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania:
One midnight, in the department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 26-year-old Anna was brought into the labour ward on a stretcher. Her eyes were half open and she was too weak. Just a few hours earlier, Anna had been a typical mother-to-be, looking forward to her first child. But now, despite doing everything possible to try to save her life, it was simply too late.
Anna’s death was the result of missed opportunities far before that tragic night. Anna should have been diagnosed with anaemia in prenatal appointments and received treatment. And once she was at the local clinic, she could have been given a blood transfusion. With these simple steps, Anna and her baby could have survived. But instead, she died within 25 minutes of being admitted. Her baby died at the local clinic.
As the medical intern at the ward, I had to explain what had happened to Anna’s husband. Even before I could speak the word death, tears began to stream down his cheeks. They had been married just one year.
Unacceptable and preventable
The Anna of story is deeply sad…