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It is the Matriarch Midwifery! by Dr. Mulindi Munahamunthu

It is the Matriarch Midwifery! by Dr. Mulindi Munahamunthu

July 30
10:43 2018

It is the Matriarch Midwifery!

Dr. Mulindi Munahamunthu

The World Health Organization has done much work on ensuring that women do not die in the process of giving birth. The process of giving birth has three main components: 1. Pregnancy (9 months) 2. Child
bearing (10hrs of labour) and 3.

Some 42 days after the baby is delivered. If the mother dies in any of these three processes of child bearing, it is regarded a needless preventable maternal morality and it points a finger to poor health systems. Such deaths denote a failure by the health system.

Over the last 40 years, national maternal mortality ratios have been used as a yard stick to measure
unnecessary deaths per every one hundred thousand live deliveries.

During this time, WHO has categorized three reasons why women lose their lives. They say women die in child birth if: 1. A pregnancy is not recognized early enough and given due attention 2. If a problem or sickness associated with a pregnant woman is not referred to a hospital early or if the so referred woman does not reach the hospital
early enough, a woman can die.

3. If on arrival at the hospital, quick & correct remedy is not given, a woman can still die in the hospital.
These three reasons have come to be known as “three delays”.

The he World Health Organization has completely missed a fourth cause of death. I have been thinking all the time because this cause of death does not fit in any of the three categories.

As a young Doctor in 1990, I witnessed a labouring woman, escorted to the hospital by her grandmother. She died of a ruptured uterus as it turned out.

As I came to certify the body, I saw a bottle that contained greenish stuff hidden close to the body. The little old
woman on the bedside was trying hard to hide this medicine from me.

It was her sister who told me that the same concoction had been given to the woman who was labouring while in custody of the hospital.

The intention was to quicken the labour and avoid a Caesarean section. Delivery by Caesarean section is still regarded a weakness according to many grandmothers.  Science now has proven that traditional medicines do produce severe uterine contractions and can consequently lead to a ruptured uterus.

It appears that this usually fatal cause of maternal mortality has not been captured by WHO narrative. Most
workers on labour wards have come to suspect this as a major cause uterine rupture and demise of young women.

As the profession becomes aware of this, the approach has been to continue to give respect to grandmothers that escort women to labour ward.

These matriarchs remain custodians of thousands of years of observed phenomena of labour with thousands of years of herbal experience and secrets.

The tendency is to keep these medicines secret and administer the medicine very secretly. However, doctors seek
disclosure when herbs are given.

This helps them to take extra caution in administering medicines that may potentiate or counteract such
concoctions.

For now, until we exact what these medicines contain, their rightful dosage and route of administration we will always request to be told when a woman in labour and in a hospital has had such grandmother medical interference.

Herbal medications that cause uncoordinated uterine contraction do not only kill babies. They also kill mothers! We only hope that we will gather sufficient evidence to have this cause included among causes of maternal deaths. For now, I will merely refer to it as Matriarch interference. Enjoy the week. mulindim@gmail.com

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