Strange baby deaths at Oshikuku


Three babies and one mother have died over the past month either during or after birth, at the Oshikuku Catholic Hospital and the authorities say it’s normal.

The first baby died on January 21, and on January 31, a mother (name withheld) who had successfully delivered died of ‘unknown causes’ around midnight according to her death certificate and the report of her post-mortem is still inconclusive, V-Metro established.

The second baby died on 12 February and the third one died on 20 February.

“The relatives of these people were told that the death was normal but at a meeting two weeks ago, differences emerged between doctors and a senior official, Hilda Haipinge.

The doctors argued that something was wrong,” V-Metro was told.

What has puzzled nurses, mid-wives and doctors at the hospital is that the woman who died on 31 January had shown no signs of any illness after giving birth.

“Her temperature was fine and her medical report shows that she was even checked by the doctor where no signs of high blood pressure or post-birth disorder.

She just died overnight, without any sign of pulmonary embolism,” one nurse said.

Pulmonary embolism is a proven predictor of mortality rate, but no signs of it showed on the late woman.

A medical expert in the region who spoke on anonymity confirmed the deaths which he attributed to pulmonary stenosis (a heart valve disorder) or unnecessary lengthy labour processes.

“These deaths may have been caused by conditions like high blood pressure and clamydia which are serious but preventable conditions,” the nurse said adding that the woman could have had a liver condition.

“The woman was fine after she gave birth and just collapsed and died at 02h00. There is nothing we could have done about her but for the babies we could have done something . . .  I am also confused,” she said.

The deceased was admitted to the maternity ward on 30 January and delivered a healthy boy the next day, but she did not live to see her boy.
Others suspect that the death

s could be associated to congenital malfunction; any pathological condition detected at birth. Several expecting mothers interviewed by V-Metro, also offer their own versions on the matter, “One of the ladies whose mother died, they cut open her vaginal area to expand the part so that she could give birth easily, but when she delivered, the baby died,” V-Metro was told.

Authorities in Oshikuku are, however, relaxed on the matter  with many arguing that it should be treated as part of the martenal fatality in the North.

Namibia’s mortality was last recorded at 40% in 2010, with the North having the highest.

No post mortem on any of the deaths has been conducted and no specimen of any of the corpses have been forwarded to the Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP).

Only inconclusive post-mortems have been carried out wby the mortuary in the North.

Haipinge said, “I am busy with another meeting because I am not in the region and even when the cases happened, I was not in the region, so I am not in a position to answer that.”

Efforts to call the Chief Medical Officer for the region on 065251238/9 proved fruitless as the phone went unaswered.