In a shocking incident, a pregnant 18-year-old girl was forced to deliver her baby in a bathroom drainage at Phalombe Health Centre.
The girl, Alinafe Mtsinje of Filisi Village in Traditional Authority Kaduya in the district delivered the baby in the morning hours of the day after health personnel denied her access to the labour ward on two occasions.
Mtsinje said she was referred to the facility from Migowi Health Centre on Tuesday night and throughout the morning hours of Wednesday she was not feeling well, a thing that convinced her that her labour was due.
However, Mtsinje, alleged that she was denied entry to the labour ward each time she approached health workers who advised her to wait until her labour started and that she remained unattended.
“When I told them that I was not feeling well they chased me away saying my time for delivery was not ripe. I tried to reason with the patient attendant who was giving orders on behalf nurse in charge but she told me to keep waiting outside,” she claimed.
Mtsinje added that “At that time, my mother had gone to prepare breakfast and when she returned she found me helpless. She took me to the bathroom to clean me up but before we could enter the room I fell down because the pain was no longer bearable.”
She explained that when her mother notified health personnel in the labour ward about her situation they told her that there was nothing they could do about it and that her mother should take her to the ward where people were assisted with deliveries.
“While this row happened between my mother and the health personnel, my baby started coming out and some women who heard me scream came with wrappers and surrounded me; assisting me with the delivery at the same time,” Mtsinje ,who was giving birth for the first time, narrated.
A visit to the hospital established that despite the yet-to-be-named baby being delivered alive and being able to cry, the only peculiar thing was that it was not suckling from his mother for hours since birth.
Phalombe District Health Promotion Officer, Daniel Chilomo confirmed the incident while turning down allegations that the girl was neglected.
“This issue has nothing to do with health workers’ negligence but rather lack of space in the labour ward; that is why she was asked to wait outside,” he viewed, adding that it was unfortunate that she delivered unattended.
Chilomo pointed out that although her labour started at an unsafe place, health workers assisted both the mother and the baby to deliver safely.
One of the women at the health facility’s maternity waiting shelter, Ida Chapola, who claimed to have assisted in the delivery of the baby, said negligence by labour ward health personnel had become the order of the day at the facility.
She cited an example of a young woman who left the maternity waiting shelter in the past week to deliver her baby at a traditional birth attendant’s after watching how her fellow women were being poorly treated by nurses and midwives during labour.
“Some of the women coming for deliveries are young and it could be their first pregnancies; so seeing another expectant mother being ill-treated during a time every woman needs care, one may indeed opt for Azamba as a better option,” Chapola noted.
Phalombe district has in the past years been recognized for making strides in improving maternal and child health services as evidenced by its annual reports.
However, the recent incident has left most women wondering whether it is safe to deliver their babies at the district’s health facilities.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :