Takindwa’s mom started her labor at the District Hospital in Malawi. She had had a previous cesarean section so it was important that she labor at a hospital with an operating room. Many women in Malawi labor in rural area which are far from any health facility. And even when there is a clinic nearby, many times they lack an operating room and staff capable of performing a C-section. The national C-section rate in Malawi is about 6% this compares with a US C-section rate of about 32% (WHO 2013). According to the World Health Organization, the percentage of women who will require a C-section in order to birth safely is about 15%. This means many Malawian women are not receiving necessary C-sections, which as a result jeopardizes their lives and the lives of their babies.
Takindwa’s mom was in the right place to access emergency obstetric care and after many hours it became apparent that she would again require a C-section in order to deliver safely. Takindwa was born on April 13th by what initially seemed to be an uneventful C-section. However, within a few hours her mother became short of breath, collapsed suddenly and was pronounced dead. There is no capacity to perform an autopsy, so the cause of her death will never be know with certainty. However, considering that her mother was a healthy 19 year-old woman, it is likely that her death was related to a surgical error. Tragically in Malawi, both poor access to care and poor quality of accessibly care threaten the lives of many women.
Takindwa’s family was immediately referred to Joyful Motherhood and our nurses have been following her ever since. Today she is a health 7 month-old.