Tanzania: Woman Delivers 5 Babies After Fleeing Kenya Doctors’ Strike

Moshi — An expectant Kenyan mother who fled the doctors’ strike in her country and crossed into Tanzania to seek medical attention has delivered five babies in Kilimanjaro Region.

Ms Bahati Tabu, a 37-year-old single mother from Taveta, gave birth to the quintuplets at Faraja Health Centre in Himo District on Sunday. However, four infants, all male, died shortly after they were born. The sole survivor is a baby girl, who was the first to be delivered. Doctors said the baby, who weighed 600 grammes when she was born, was under special care at the health centre.

Ms Tabu crossed the border after over 5,000 doctors and nurses in government hospitals in Kenya began a nationwide strike on December 6 demanding better pay and working conditions.

She told The Citizen yesterday that she had ten children from a previous marriage before she gave birth on Sunday, and the baby that survived took the number of her children to 11.

Ms Tabu said began experiencing labour pains on Sunday in Taveta, but could not go to hospital due to the doctors’ strike.

“My neighbours decided to bring me to Himo, where I eventually gave birth. I was, however, devastated to hear that four had died, but that is God’s will,” she said.

 Ms Tabu added that she attended clinic in Taveta during her pregnancy and was told that she was carrying quadruplets.

It was while she was giving birth that it was established that she had in fact carried quintuplets.

 Ms Tabu said she was having a tough time providing for her ten children, and expected life to be even harder now that she had another one.

“I divorced my husband of 20 years several years ago. Almost all my children are dependent on me and I do menial jobs, which at least enable us to live to see the next day. The man with whom I had this last child walked out on me after we had a rocky relationship,” she said, adding that it was her neighbours who contributed money for her medical bills and transport to Himo, which is about 30 kilometres from Moshi.

The physician-in-charge at Faraja Health Centre, Dr Samuel Minja, told The Citizen yesterday that the woman was admitted on Sunday immediately after arriving from Taveta where she was unable to get medical attention.

He said Ms Tabu began experiencing labour pains despite being only in the sixth month of her pregnancy.

“We immediately took her to the delivery room where she started to give birth in quick succession,” Dr Minja added.

“Her first baby was a girl weighing 600 grammes, who survived. She then delivered three baby boys, who died shortly after they were born.

“We thought that it was all over, when we realised that there was still one more baby in the womb. The fifth baby, also a boy, was born after half an hour, but died after a few minutes.”

According to Dr Minja, Ms Tabu was well, adding that doctors were closely monitoring her sole surviving baby.

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