Women and Children

A Still Birth (Part Two)

Faith’s brother fought too and nail to ensure she got a university education along with her three sisters. He knew the great difference between a university graduate and one who did not see the four-walls of the school, a stark illiterate. Therefore, he decided to squeeze out money, no matter the cost, to see them through.

He was not fortunate to be educated himself as their parents were peasant farmers who could barely afford a three square meal. The children did odd jobs to support the family’s income when it became clear they couldn’t survive on the meagre sales from farm produce.

Okenna found himself as an apprentice trader in the neighbouring city and from there he set up his own electronics shop. With the proceed, he was able to pay their school fees and other miscellaneous expenses.

Faith was the first fruit of his labour and her younger ones looked up to her to be like him and help others.
It was rather difficult getting a job notwithstanding a second class upper in banking and finance. She spent the next two years in a frantic job hunt. One would have expected her land a fat-paying banking job soon after graduation.

Still, she could not afford give up, if only to secure a job from where she can save some money to establish her own business firm. After a long search, she had to settle for a private school job as a kindergarten teacher while still applying for her dream job.

A few months after she became a teacher, she met a handsome young man who found her irresistible and proposed marriage.

And in less than a year of courtship, they became husband and wife. And since children are the sign of a fulfilled marriage to most Africans, she conceived in the first month of marriage.

Everything seemed normal at first, she began to attend antenatal at the local clinic and despite it been scarcely equipped, it was better than nothing; especially as it was the best she and her teacher husband could afford at the time.

Unknown to her, there were complications which the health workers failed to diagnose.
As she was rushed to the local hospital one Friday morning amidst severe pains and ruptured water, her husband was told the nurses were on strike and must pay twice the original amount to convince any of them to work. What was more, his wife’s life was paramount.

He hastily signed the paper. It took about three days to get the baby out and Faith was exhausted by then as they insisted on a normal birth. She gave up soon after, even before blood donors were found.

The story of Faith (a symbolic name) represents that of many other Nigerians, and indeed other Africans, who were victims of the poor health facilities. Whose lives were cut short in their bid to procreate and not allow their family’s lineage close . Moreover, a childless African woman is usually ridiculed by her in-laws, and the society at large. She knows no peace until she has a child of her own or her husband brings another woman to do the ‘job’.

They had dreams just like every other human being but could not live to actualize it due to corruption and the country’s failure to care for it’s citizenry.

Many young Africans may not have the same opportunity as I to give birth in developed countries but their lives can be saved if they have access to quality health care, during and after delivery.

Have you been affected by the death of a loved one as a result of poor medical facilities or negligence? Please share your experience in the comment box.

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