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We Must Not Keep Silent

How did we get to the point where a pregnant woman with labour complications will be rushed to a hospital and will be left outside, unattended to, till the point that she dies? How did we get to the point where in that moment of grief and in a desperate attempt to save the unborn twins, her niece was forced to rip the dead woman’s belly open to bring out the babies who also sadly died?

I’m sure by now you must have heard of this very sad occurrence which took place some days ago in Douala, Cameroon. According to news reports, thirty-one year old, Monique Koumate was inflicted by labour complications and rushed to Laquintini Hospital by her partner on Saturday 12th March, 2016.

She was reportedly denied medical attention since she had no money and later died at the gates of the hospital. Some reports however claim that the woman was already dead on arrival at the hospital, but it doesn’t change the fact that the babies who were still kicking in her womb could have been saved with proper medical attention.

Her niece was then forced to rescue the babies through C- section in order to preserve life. She bought a blade in a shop close by, and in the midst of an amazed crowd cut the womb of the dead woman, in an attempt to save the babies.

One of the twins came out dead. The other was still breathing but some minutes later on died.

A continent as richly blessed as Africa should not have to witness such tragedy. There should be more value placed on the human life, regardless of how rich or poor the person is.

I feel so sad for the niece. What she did was so scary, but so brave. I don’t know what I would have done in her situation. The pictures and video of the emergency surgery is so heartbreaking to watch.

It’s really such a shame that we had to loose three precious lives to a situation that could have been avoided. Their death is a reminder that we cannot keep silent, that we need to do more as a people, as a nation and as a continent. Africa continues to stay at the bottom of the rank with regards to maternal health and access to affordable health care.

But I refuse to believe hope is lost. We must continue to speak out, continue to demand better systems in healthcare, in politics, in education, in governance, in development and much more.

Their deaths are a reminder of how much it hurts. Their deaths must not be in vain.

 

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