Cecilia Achadu Otim, Uganda
Dedicated to Dr. Cecilia Achadu Otim by the Naguru Teenage Information & Health Centre of Straight Talk, Uganda.
At 34, Cecilia was the youngest and only female heart surgeon (hartchirurg) in Uganda. She was exceptionally talented, kind, dedicated to her patients and popular with the children of her community who enjoyed Sunday school in her home. After a healthy pregnancy, her daughter was born by caesarean section (keizersnede)in Mulago Hospital, Uganda's national referral hospital. But an hour after the operation, Cecilia's breathing changed and her mother insisted on calling a nurse. No nurse came and only her mother was there to hold Cecilia's hand as she breathed her last. Thousands attended her funeral, mourning the loss of a talented and much loved young woman who was also a great investment for the country's future.
Wambui, Kenia - onveilige abortus
Wambui was a 32- year-old single mother who made her living selling items at a street market in Nairobi. When she was twenty-eight weeks pregnant, Wambui was admitted to hospital with ruptured membranes (gebroken vliezen) and a fever. But even after a full week of treatment, her condition had not improved. Her doctors decided to perform a hysterectomy (baarmoederverwijdering). When they began to operate, they discovered a catheter (slangetje) inside Wambui's abdomen (buik).
Wambui later admitted that she had visited an unqualified street abortionist. She had been reluctant to tell her story when she was first admitted because the nurses she spoke to were openly hostile (vijandig) to her. Abortion, though commonplace, remains taboo throughout much of Kenya; the law prohibits abortion unless it can be proved that a woman's life is in danger.
After the surgery, Wambui's health continued to deteriorate. She died ten days later.
Sadly, her story is not uncommon. Every year, tens of thousands of women die from complications relating to unsafe abortion; even more are seriously injured.
Bolumbu, Congo - 150 km ver van zorg
Mother Anne's fourth daughter, Bolumbu, stayed in their home village. She got married and had three children. Beronge is 150 kilometers away from the district hospital and can only be accessed by bicycle. Nearing the end of her fourth pregnancy she went to the health centre and was seen by a nurse. Yet when she went into labor there was no doctor, equipment or drugs (medicijnen) to manage her complications. She died in front of her family and the nurses. Everyone was powerless and could do nothing to help her.
Sijawa Yasin, Tanzania - te ver van hulp
Sijawa Yasin was born in 1982 in the Mpingi village of the Songea District Council in the Ruvuma Region of Tanzania. She was the fifth child of a family with eleven children. Sijawa passed away in May of 2004. Her older sister Khadija also died in childbirth in August of 1999.
Sijawa was not able to finish her primary school education because she was pregnant while in school at the tender age of 14. She delivered her first child through a caesarean section operation (keizersnede) and became pregnant again one year later.
When nine months pregnant with her second child, Sijawa was supposed to be referred to the Ruvuma Regional Hospital to have her child through another caesarean section. When Sijawa started having labor pains (weeën), her family looked for transportation to take her to the hospital. However, they could not find any means of transportation quickly and the hospital was 78 kilometers from their village. In addition, many of the roads were impassable since it was the rainy season.
Sijawa's parents finally were able to arrange for the village tractor to take her to the hospital. The tractor was being used to go buy fertilizer in the town center, and the family was lucky to secure a ride. The journey was a very painful experience for Sijawa; the ride was slow and tiresome. It became very hard and unbearable for Sijawa to persist in her condition, and she lost all her strength. She passed away while on the tractor.
Rita Egwe, Nigeria
Rita was a 25 year-old from the hard-to-reach riverside community Afono Erei of Cross River State. She went into labor (ze ging bevallen) and was helped by one of the community's traditional birth attendants (traditionele vroedvrouwen). She began to experience complications. When the community birth attendant realized she was not able to handle Rita's case, she referred her to another traditional birth attendant who was seven kilometers away. The only way to reach the facility where the other attendant was located was to navigate rough roads on a motorcycle. After a difficult journey, Rita arrived to find that the attendant was not available. Rita was put in a bed where she waited and labored.
Rita died during labor (tijdens de bevalling) on July 19, 2007.