The recent surge in maternal death in The Gambia is a cause for concern. The scenario has forced a group of concerned Gambians including Gambian 'Women's Lives Matter' to intensify their campaign in a bid to curtail the menace.
It is against this broader move that Mbama Care Foundation in partnership with Gambian Women's Lives Matter recently convened a press conference to put forward several demands they want the government of The Gambia to consider.
At a recent presser, Sally Jobe who read a statement on behalf of Matida Bojang, co-founder and president of Gambian Women's Lives Matter, informed that the movement is an initiative that was founded in response to the growing issues of maternal and infant mortality in the country.
"Many of these deaths could be prevented if the correct action was taken beforehand. For the past weeks, at least three women have died every week. The recent cases of maternal mortality in the country are nothing short of jarring."
She recalled a scenario where a woman gave birth to premature triplets at the Banjulinding Health Centre due to postpartum hemorrhaging and was referred to Kanifing General Hospital. She was later referred to the Royal Victorial Teaching Hospital, where she passed on.
"We want there be a law or policy that would allow women to stay in Gambian hospitals for at least two days if they choose to, especially if they had a complicated birth. We also demand that health care professionals conduct tests to ensure that the women will be alive and well when they go home after giving birth. Had this woman not gone home a day after delivering her babies, her life may have been saved as she would have access to emergency care."
She made reference to another case where a young woman at the Brikama Hospital was pregnant and she suspected that her unborn child was deceased inside of her and informed the hospital, but they didn't take her claims seriously.
"A very bad odour started coming out of her mouth, which eventually blinded her. The hospital later discovered that her unborn child did in fact die inside her. The woman is now blind." She explained.
Gambian hospitals and health centres, she added, need to commit to prevent more infant and maternal deaths, especially those that are easily preventable.
In the foregoing, The Gambian Women's Lives Matter advocacy group would like to make the following demands on behalf of all women in the country.
"Provision of adequate financing of the health sector; formulation of appropriate policies based on evidence-based medicine guidelines; provision of proper healthcare infrastructure and equipment; adequate supplies of drugs and blood; improve transport and communication network; access to family planning; provision of standard primary healthcare services in all regions."
They also demand more information and education to promote health seeking behavior as well as confidential inquiry system to provide detailed information about maternal death and the publication of such information and tracking of recommendation made.
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