Impact of maternal deaths on families_ The Chronicles_ 25 August 2015

Date: June 25, 2015
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Name of the story: Impact of maternal deaths on families

Name of the media house: The Chronicles

Country: Zimbabwe


Brief description of the item of work you submitted and motivation of why it is a good example of gender awareness and sensitivity in advancing gender equality Post-2015.

  1. I did an in-depth story on the impact of maternal deaths on families especially the newborn babies. The article explores the trauma experienced by a man who lost his wife during childbirth due to negligence by medical personnel. It also highlights the state of affairs in public hospitals versus the need for Zimbabwe to scale up its maternal health strategies given the high maternal mortality rate in the country.

I believe the story is a good example of gender awareness and sensitivity as it incorporates views of a man who is normally absent when maternal health is discussed. The story shows the bravado of a man who believes pregnant women deserve the best health care thus the need to dig deeper into his wife’s death as means to raise alarm and empower more women about what can befall them if they go to Mpilo Central Hospital.

One may add that the story is gender sensitive in that it highlights how one hurting men fought for the rights of women after his wife’s death and brought responsible authorities to account. It did also portray men as humans bound to suffer emotional trauma due to maternal deaths.

  1. The story is a about how a blind couple saw beyond myths and misconceptions around VMMC and participated in the procedure which is one of the scientifically proven HIV prevention methods available for burdened countries like Zimbabwe. It highlights the positive role that women can play in curbing HIV by encouraging men to take up circumcision. The article shows how the couple despite discrimination and exclusion is active in the fight against HIV though they living with disability. I believe the story also shows how ignoring minority groups like the disabled may hinder progress towards preventing HIV and other diseases.


Why did you produce the story? What problem or context is it responding to?

  1. I was motivated by the man’s story about negligent health practitioners who served his heavily pregnant wife. In the past, activists suggested that shortage of skilled personnel was fuelling maternal deaths in Zimbabwe but the story proves that the same workers are capable of causing deaths given the deteriorating health standards.
  2. Therefore, in context, the story is responding to the alarming levels of maternal deaths and how the Government is failing women in that area. The story also responded to the social impacts of maternal health on men, children, families and the community, which are normally ignored when policyholders tabulate their maternal deaths statistics.

2 The story sought to explain how the exclusion of vulnerable groups like the disabled is likely to slow down progress in HIV prevention. The disabled are a forgotten lot in most programmes yet they it is estimated they make up 10% of the world’s population. Since HIV affects both men and women, I felt it was necessary to highlight in service provision.

Key objectives

What did you hope to achieve with this coverage?

  1. I hoped to expose the malpractices at most government run hospitals, which are used by a majority of Zimbabweans with no disposable income. The story was also aimed at outlining the terrible effects of maternal deaths and how the scourge affects other areas in Zimbabwe.
  2. I hoped to give voice to the voiceless disabled men and women in Zimbabwe and highlight the importance of including disabled people in all programmes. I also wanted to show that women could play a positive role in encouraging men to take up circumcision.

Target audience

Who did you hope to reach? Did you succeed in reaching this audience? What evidence do you have to that effect?

  1. I hoped to reach;

-women and men

-policy makers

-the government

-women rights activists

-human rights lawyers and non- government organisations

  1. I hoped to reach:

– Policy makers

– Human rights activists

-Men and women in general

-Policy makers

-Non- government organisations and donors

How did you go about researching and writing the story?

How did you gather the data, how many sources, female and male did you consult? Why did you choose these sources and how were their voices important?

For both stories, i conducted direct interviews with main sources in their homes after in-depth research on maternal death and VMMC online. I also read many documents on health and went through some articles on patients’ rights taken from different organisations. I also did some telephonic interviews for some of the sources.


What impact did it have? What evidence do you have to illustrate impact?

After my first story on Samantha was published, members of the public dreaded the Hospital and three nurses were suspended after the inquest was completed. I also got promises from relevant authorities

Follow up

How would you conduct a follow up to your story and why?

I would like to check if necessary changes in policies have been formulated to address maternal deaths, negligence in public hospitals and the exclusion of the disabled.

To read more about the story click here