• He didn’t have a dime to pay when his wife was brought in for delivery – Hospital CMD
By Bashir Bello
It was celebration galore in Katsina State when Gaje, the wife of Gora Zubairu, gave birth to quadruplets.
The wife of the state governor, Hajiya Hadiza-Aminu Bello Masari, was among those who trooped to the hospital where the birth took place and later the Zubairu family house located in Gora Dansaka village of
Malumfashi to catch a glimpse of the quadruplets.
Gaje was delivered of the babies through Caesaran operation carried out by a team of doctors at Malumfashi General Hospital. The quadruplets, three males and one female, were the first of the kind to be born in the community.
But the celebration that followed the birth of the babies was cut short when one of them (male) died some days later.
A bigger tragedy was to follow four days after, precisely October 29, when the quadruplets’ mother also passed on. The tragedies threw the Zubairu family not only into mourning, the question of who to look after the babies in the absence of their mother also arose.
Two factors were blamed for Gaje’s sudden death. First, she was said to have failed to attend antenatal care, ANC, because her husband restrained her and, second, she suffered malnourishment.
Gora’s alleged decision not to allow his wife to attend ANC may not be unconnected with the traditional practice in the area that limits the freedom of women.
The practice limits the ability of women to take independent decisions about their own lives including decisions about health care services as such decisions lie with the husbands or male relations.
And Gaje’s case is one of the thousands of cases in the North where men do not allow their wives to go for ANC.
Experts estimate that 1,000 women die daily in Nigeria arising from their inability to access adequate ANC during pregnancy.
Such care includes the monitoring of the mother and the unborn child’s health and development.
The ANC provides the women an avenue to be monitored and get knowledge and appropriate information on diet, relevant light weight exercises and activities to avoid during pregnancy.
But in Gaje’s case, she was denied the opportunity to access ANC to get the relevant information and medical support during pregnancy. It was learnt that the deceased mother of quadruplets had had seven children for her first husband before she married Gora and bore the new babies.
My wives don’t go for ANC – Gora
Gora, Sunday Vanguard learnt, is a peasant farmer in his 40s and has four wives and 26 children minus the quadruplets. He opened up in an interview that none of his wives, whenever they were pregnant, ever went for ANC.
And his explanation was simple: The family lives far-away from the hospital, so he can’t afford the cost of transportation and hospital fees.
His words: “Because we are in the village, nobody has ever gone for ANC in my house. Reason is that we live far-away from the hospital. At times, you will wake up with the intention of going to the hospital but you discover you don’t have money. Even going to the hospital on motorbike, the road is terrible”.
Sunday Vanguard found that the village is about nine kilometres to the Malumfashi General Hospital but there is a Primary Healthcare Centre, PHC, in the area where ANC is available for pregnant women.
Another of Goja’s wives narrated that when she delivered her first baby without attending ANC, she discovered there were issues and so, in subsequent pregnancies, she adopted the habit of sneaking to her
parents’ house where the parents assisted her to attend ANC.
Quadruplets’ mother was brought late to hospital, with no ANC attendance record – CMD
The Chief Medical Director, CMD, of Malumfashi General Hospital, Dr. Abdulhamid Abdullahi, said the mother of the quadruplets was brought late to the hospital for delivery, explaining that the hospital had no record of her ANC attendance.
“She was brought here late and we had no record that she had ANC attendance. Second, she had had multiple pregnancies and the uterus was already relaxed. If somebody has had more than four pregnancies,
there is the tendency of having postpartum hemorrhage even if it is virginal delivery. So she had postpartum haemorrhage”, Abdullahi said.
“And we gave all the assistance we could because the man didn’t even have one naira when they brought the woman who eventually gave birth. So we had to do the delivery free of charge. Even after the surgery, he didn’t come until after two days. That is why when the babies started getting donations, we said we were not going to give him the money because if you give him the money, in the next two to three weeks, he will marry another lady to fill the vacuum of the wife’s death”.
Back in hospital
The three remaining babies have, however, been returned to hospital. And the Malumfashi hospital CMD said the babies will remain in the facility in the meantime for monitoring and medical attention.
According to him, the decision to return the babies to the hospital came after he led his management team on a condolence visit to the woman’s family at Gora-Dansaka.
“The babies will be with us at the hospital for monitoring. They will be here until they are strong enough and, fortunately, well-wishers and sympathizers have been donating cash and necessary items for their upkeep. We just held a meeting with the family’s representatives on the need to open an account for the babies and this we are going to do right away to ensure that nobody tampers with the money donated to them by kind hearted Nigerians.
For now, I cannot say the definite time that the babies will be released to the family but what I know is that they will be strong enough before we release them. Members of their family are allowed to visit them in the hospital,” Abdullahi said.
My antenatal campaign – First Lady
Meanwhile, Katsina State First Lady, Hadiza-Aminu Bello Masari, has advised pregnant women to attend ANC to reduce maternal deaths.
“My advice to pregnant women is to visit hospital and enrol for ANC. It is unfortunate the babies’ mother died but we cannot query God. I can assure you that I will ensure that the babies don’t suffer. I have
told the hospital’s management that my doors are open anytime they need anything for the babies,” she said during a visit to the babies at the Malumfashi General Hospital and donated N50, 000 and food items for their upkeep.
One of the grown up children of the deceased, who is also a mother of three, Suwaiba Salisu, on her part, called on pregnant women who had yet to start attending ANC to do so immediately.
Suwaiba said: “I’m calling on women that once they are pregnant and getting up to three months, they should go for ANC for their well-being and the babies’ healthy growth.”
A native of Malumfashi, Abdullahi Inuwa, who was bitter about the circumstances surrounding the death of the mother of quadruplets, asked men to get involved the moment their wives get pregnant.
Inuwa called for the punishment of any man who fails to allow his wife to go for ANC.