Na so this manga wey people dem sabi talk that in oyiboman ein country no, witches no dey, ibi true oo. Ha!
You see sey sake of the title no, you no waka pass as before but you dey borrow chair for read am jεjε (Chai, Africa; a continent of too “powerful” witches such that every story that bothers on the knaveries of demons tingles our ears. Hehehe)
On this note, let me take off my pidgin attire and put on my everyday English suit and introduce today’s article as “how developed health facilities neutralises the negative escapades of witches from oyibo land, especially the kind that causes maternal mortality”.
In 2016, I lived in Ghana, Accra, with some very good neighbours. Occasionally, we shared gifts in the neighbourhood and assisted each other with services. One Wednesday dawn when I went into labour, as my husband drove past our apartment gate, we saw one of our neighbours by name Serwaa. My husband only greeted and speedily drove past her. As for me I was literally hiding at the back of the car. Though the labour pains were already making me act like I was on a roller coaster while in the car, my neighbour’s presence made me go down the more so she wouldn’t know I was in labour or ask me where I was going.
But why didn’t I want my ‘good’ neighbour to know I was due for birth so I was being driven to the hospital? I don’t know the answer for now but maybe later in this write-up, I may assume an answer.
Fast forward, after a year, still living in that apartment, (I must say that apartment had a blessing for fruitfulness as every family that settled there sooner than later had children) Serwaa herself got married and had a child. I didn’t know or hear when she went into labour although I saw her pregnant. I met her after a while obviously without her bump and she told me the good news.
In 2017, I had another child. While I was pregnant with that, my other good neighbour, Ama was also pregnant. Well, I didn’t know when she got pregnant to assume which of us will go into labour first, but to the glory of God, she delivered in October and I was told of it after a week or so.
By the grace of God, I also delivered on December 28th. Amusingly, on 26th December, Ama saw me with my big bump and weird walking, she asked: “sissy should I turn on the engine of the car?” My husband had left for work that morning but she was still home on maternity leave so she opted to take me to the hospital should I be experiencing mild contractions to have resulted in my duck-like walking. I laughed in appreciation and said, “oh no…it still has some time to go”.
Miraculously, the sometime more to go ended in two days when I put to birth, my second child.
Errrhmmm, let me ask honestly. Why couldn’t we all tell it boldly when we were expecting to go into labour? Myself, Ama and Serwaa.
1. Was it that if we told each other, the witches in our villages will hear of it, to cause our deaths during labour by transforming into negligent midwives?
2. Will the witches cause Post Partum Hemorrhage and nothing can or will be done about it because we gave birth in a poorly resourced CHPS COMPOUND till we die of anaemia?
3. Will the witches cause difficult and prolonged labour that will stress both the foetus and the mother to pass out after waiting too long on plastic chairs while in labour because the delivery beds were full?
4. Will the witches stop all the emergency oxygen plants from working when it is needed most?
5. Will the witches prevent a doctor from being on standby for emergency Caesarean section should vaginal delivery prove impossible?
I could go on and on with the questions but let it end here since it is actually the reason for this write-up.
On Sunday, I saw this Japanese friend of mine. She has been pregnant for some time and I hadn’t seen her in a while, so on Sunday after church, I enquired of her from another friend of ours?
No sooner had Gabby answered me than Hiroko-san appeared. She was full of smiles and showed me her baby bump again. She smiled again telling me, it has a month more to go.
However, what surprised me the most was when she told me her Expected Date of Delivery (EDD) and even the sex of her baby. Wow!
Who tells a neighbour in Ghana or even a friend who is not part of her birth plan when her EDD is or even the sex of her baby or ‘foolishly’ for the worse showing the hospital she will be delivered in?
I burst out in Akan knowing that she wouldn’t understand I said, “there are no witches in oyibo land”. Certainly because if there were in Oyibo land the kind of witches in Ghana that ‘kill’ women in labour or their children because they posted pregnant pictures of themselves on Facebook, or updated their WhatsApp statuses whilst yet pregnant, Hiroko-san will not have given me the GPS address of her birth hospital to be.
On the contrary, why are there no witches especially the kind that cause maternal mortality in Oyibo land? The answer in my small mind includes but not limited to developed health facilities, adequate medical personnel, improved service delivery, good nutrition etc.
Fellow citizens, if there is any iota of truth in the fact that improved health services together with the other factors enumerated above do reduce maternal mortality, I humbly ask, does anything prevent us as a country from developing our health system so as to cut search deaths drastically?
Or our “WITCHES” will be underutilised if we take the responsibility of maternal mortality off them and only leave them with road accidents? (I do not make this assertion ignorantly but based on some flimsy reasons as “witchcraft” for shirked responsibilities…)
I sob the more as I conclude this write-up, with the thoughts of my colleague who died during labour in Accra on February 25, 2019. I pray my tears will cause a change in the prioritisation decision of my Ghanaian leaders.
I beseech my President to do his best to ensure Maternal Mortality is a thing of the past by equipping all health facilities because in Oyibo land such “witches” of poor health delivery, few doctors or none at all in a birth centre, no beds, no ambulance, no oxygen, “I won’t undergo CS because……” that cause maternal mortality no dey exist.
(I am the GHANAIAN villager that came to Japan officially known as Afiba Anyanzua Boavo Twum)
#End maternal mortality now
#Oyiboman en land such “witches” no dey
Afiba Anyanzua Boavo Twum