Caught between pregnancy and a rock

Zimbabwe

Patience Chido Nhamburo

Caught in- between an unplanned early pregnancy, being turned away from medical institutions, and a suspected sexually transmitted infection, the life of a 17-year-old expecting mother from Harare’s Mbare suburb is a living hell.

The girl , who cannot be named to protect her identity, is battling a life threatening pregnancy complication, which has seen her endure labour pains since Wednesday last week.

Even her unborn baby’s life is also at risk.

After having been turned away from two medical institutions in Harare the expecting mother has turned to Ambuya Esther Zinyoro, the famous Mbare traditional midwife.

But Ambuya Zinyoro’s hands are tied.

‘’At Edith Opperman, they said I would be treated after delivery, while doctors and Ambuya Zinyoro say I cannot be treated here, I should be treated at Harare Hospital lest I bleed profusely”, said the young expecting mother.

Ambuya Zinyoro who last week hit the headlines for having delivered more than 100 babies at her place, finds the 17-year-old girl’s case quite complicated.

“I asked her what was wrong and she said she had warts, she had gone to the hospital, and at Edith clinic they could not treat her, so they referred her to Harare Hospital, where they said they could only treat her after she delivers her baby” said Ambuya Zinyoro.

The strike by medical personnel at council owned clinics has not helped matters with many expecting mothers, who cannot afford services offered by private institutions, turning to traditional midwives such as Ambuya Zinyoro.

But experts warn that turning to unqualified midwives is risky.

“Under normal circumstances in an urban set up this is totally unacceptable, we should be having all our women delivering babies from health institutions that are certified by trained personnel”, said Harare City Council Health Services Director Dr Prosper Chonzi