African Women’s reproductive health-she died for lack of £66

A few days ago I came across  a story in the Daily Monitor a Uganda daily that has left me shaken to the core.

The story goes that Cecilia a teacher died in labour because she , her family and friends not raise the hospital amounting to £66.  According to the Daily Monitor Cecilia had been warned to expect a large baby and when the day came she made her way to hospital and was there by 6am but was  denied treatment until she settled the hospital bill. Her husband went out in the village to sell whatever possessions he could but this was not enough to save his wife and baby as she eventually died at 8PM that day. You can read the rest of the story here

If you are regular here you will recall a post about my late cousin Doreen who died earlier this year having developed a complication following a miscarriage. In that post I wondered what hope if any there was for African women when it comes to maternal health.  Doreen and Cecilia’s stories  do not answer that question. Unlike Cecilia, Doreen had a good job and so did her husband and they could afford to pay for decent maternal health care but that did not save her life.

I therefore ask the question again

What hope is there for African women when it comes to  reproductive health?

Goal Number 5 of the  the Millennium Development Goals is all about Reproductive health/maternal health but how is this really helping women.

Are African leaders even taking notice of this?   Stupid question I know given how things work in some African countries.

Here in the UK most politicians use the National Health Service so generally know how things are and my assumption here is that they are more likely to fight for service improvement.

On the other hand in most African countries politicians and those with money are unlikely to use a public hospital and chances are they will fly out to a country they believe offers good or better health care than their own. My assumption here is because they have no experience of those services they are unlikely to call for improvements. They do not know or have no experience of how  things could be improved!

Where does that leave the Doreens and Cecilias of this world?

Should a woman and her baby die because she cannot   pay a mere £66?

Over at The Guardian Poverty Blog there is an ongoing discussion on gender equality.

Can we realistically achieve Gender equality when we are yet to resolve issues of access to decent maternal health care?

Over to you folk, please do share your thoughts on this matter



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