A lot of people keep asking me why I want to stay childless and of course, usually I just retort- ‘why not?’ but I’d like to tell everyone who cares to know that while death is inevitable; I don’t want to beg it to come to my doorstep and becoming pregnant lately will do just that. I have enough things bringing me closer to my Maker without having to add child bearing to the list; our life expectancy is at a mere 45years and I should be experiencing a midlife crisis anytime now, then there are those high risk transport things called boda bodas ridden by special men that try to see how far they can tease and coax death and get away with it every time I jump on one, and because of the high unemployment rate which stands at about 78% among youth, I just might die of starvation, desperation or depression- whichever gets me first.
But let me just walk you through the odds women have to go through in Uganda to give that life that so many people demand of them
On average, an estimated 16 pregnant women die every day in Uganda- that’s a lot of pregnant women if you ask me especially given that these deaths are preventable. I read and hear so many stories of women dying in the ward because of complications giving birth and my resolve not to get pregnant just becomes stronger and stronger.
There is the story of Jennifer Anguko who bled to death in a government hospital in October 2010, while waiting to deliver her child as her husband begged health workers for attention. Another lady recently is reported to have lost one of her twins while giving birth in IHK, a respected private hospital in Kampala and when asked what caused the death, the doctors actually dint know so it’s not just a public institutions problem.
I was also shocked to learn that for every woman or girl who dies as a result of pregnancy-related causes, between 20 and 30 more who survive will develop short- and long-term disabilities, such as obstetric fistula, a ruptured uterus, or pelvic inflammatory disease.
But more saddening is the fact that with Uganda’s fertility rate at 6.9%, and with your average Ugandan woman getting married at 18yrs, the number of women getting pregnant is not about to reduce.
Lately also, there have been more women that have pregnancy complications and need caesarian help to produce their child but there are only 200 surgeons out of the 2,105 registered doctors in the country. This means there is only one surgeon for every 400,000 Ugandans. And this morning I was reading an article in the New Vision about how unqualified doctors are operating on patients, case in point being the ongoing case against one Dr. Ssali of the Fertility hospital in Bukoto who admitted the doctor he allowed to operate on a female patient that passed away did not have a practicing certificate in Uganda.
Government hasn’t really done anything to change these statistics; in fact our health care system is falling apart if you ask me. CEHURD, an NGO, brought a petition against government complaining that it violated the women’s rights by neglecting to put essential medical commodities in place for them when they are pregnant and the Constitutional Court threw the case out holding that it could not interfere with the Executive’s mandate- I know, real jokers!
And so tell me reader, why in God’s name with all those odds against pregnant women, would I want to conceive on a whim of faith that at the end of those 9 months, I’ll be sitting on a hospital holding a bouncing baby girl?
I prefer to meet my death in another way, thank you