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Coronavirus: Seven Zimbabwe babies stillborn in one night at hospital

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@DMagombeyi

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A doctor tweeted that the bodies of the seven babies were wrapped up in green cloth

Seven babies were stillborn at Harare Hospital in Zimbabwe on Monday night after urgent treatment was delayed because of staffing issues, two doctors have confirmed to the BBC.

Nurses are on strike nationwide because of a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other concerns, and the maternity wards were overwhelmed.

One doctor said Monday’s deaths were “the tip of the iceberg”.

The health sector has recently been hit by a Covid-19 procurement scandal.

It is alleged that multi-million dollar contracts were awarded to buy supplies at inflated prices – and the health minister has been sacked over the allegations.

A leaked government response to senior doctors, who wrote to complain about conditions and to threaten strike action, acknowledged “challenges” in hospitals, an “increase in poor outcomes” and a serious shortage of medical supplies because of a lack of foreign currency, but urged medical staff “to reconsider your intention of withdrawing services”.

‘Repeated every day’

The deaths at Harare Hospital first were first published by Dr Peter Magombeyi, who tweeted, “We have been robbed of our future, including our unborn babies. Please stop the looting.”

Two doctors with direct knowledge of the situation at Harare Hospital confirmed to the BBC that on Monday night eight Caesarean section operations were performed. Seven of the babies were stillborn.

“There was very, very late intervention,” said one doctor, speaking on condition of anonymity because he did not have official permission to talk to the media.

“Two of the mothers had ruptured uteruses and needed early operations. The other operations were done because of obstructed labour, but were not done on time so the babies died, stuck in their mothers’ pelvises.”

The doctor described “dire” scenes at Harare’s two main state hospitals, with only a handful of nurses and doctors at work because of a strike.

Many of the capital’s smaller clinics have also been affected, or closed, by industrial action which began in June, prompting many pregnant women to come to Harare Hospital, overwhelming the maternity ward.

“These are not isolated incidents. This is repeated every day and all we can do is watch them die. This is torture for the families, and for the junior doctors,” said a second doctor.

More on Zimbabwe’s economic crisis:

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Media captionCoronavirus: Zimbabwe lockdown hampered by food shortages

The doctors spoke of a serious shortage of PPE equipment as well as drugs to treat eclampsia, and blood supplies needed to treat haemorrhages during births.

“There is a skeleton nursing staff – mostly senior matrons who cannot go on strike. But they’re not able to cope,” said the first doctor.

“Doctors are trying, but they’re very tired. And junior doctors are not experienced in terms of identifying complications [during pregnancy].”

In a statement, Zimbabwe’s Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists described the situation in hospitals as “grave,” and “beyond dire”.

“Our women are suffering and we believe that all stakeholders, the government, medical practitioners, civil society and individuals must act to save the voiceless mothers and babies.”

There are rising tensions in Zimbabwe, with hyperinflation strangling the economy, and protests against Zanu-PF, the party that has run the country since independence, planned for Friday.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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FDC activists win Bank of Uganda pig case by simply keeping quiet

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FDC activists Augustine Ojobile and Robert Mayanja

Buganda Road Magistrate’s court has acquitted two opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) activists Augustine Ojobile and Robert Mayanja of common nuisance charges.

FDC deputy chief administrative officer Ojobile and Mayanja have been acquitted by the grade one magistrate Fidelis Otwao on charges stemming from their protest held in November 2018 when they carried pig heads to the central police station (CPS) in Kampala protesting the rot in the Bank of Uganda that had reportedly resulted into the closure of a number of commercial banks in the country for many years.


According to them, corruption at the Central bank had been the sole ingredient for the closure of commercial banks in Uganda over the years because it reportedly mismanaged them and made erroneous decisions that led to their closure.

With fresh pig heads tied around their necks and stinking blood oozing across their white T-shirts, Mayanja and Ojobile walked through the streets of Kampala to the police in a protest that was spearheaded by their pressure group known as the Jobless Youth.

One pig head had a placard bearing the name of the former and late BOU governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and the other of his former deputy Louis Kasekende.

The protest at CPS came a few days after another that was staged at the Central bank where two piglets were dumped bearing the name of Juma Kisaame (a Muslim), the former managing director of DFCU bank. 

As a result, the duo was arrested and taken to Buganda Road court on charges of common nuisance and the prosecution adduced evidence from five witnesses who included police officers and Muslims who were reportedly angered by the protest.

According to the witnesses, the actions of Mayanja and Ojobile were annoying to the people whose names were mentioned and tagged on pig heads, and the smell that was coming out of the fresh pig heads was most likely to result in injury to a considerable number of the public by affecting their health, and the protest affected businesses since some shops allegedly had to close to see what was happening outside due to their commotion.

But when Mayanja and Ojobile were asked to defend themselves over the allegations, the duo that didn’t have legal representation chose to keep quiet as their defense and let the court make its decision based on what the prosecution witnesses had testified to.

In a judgement read today Friday by Otwao, he indicated that the evidence from the prosecution witnesses is wanting because none of the people alleged to have been annoyed by the actions of the activists testified in the case or recorded a statement with police.

According to Otwao, the testimonies were based on what the witnesses were feeling as individuals and that there were no abusive statements on the pig heads that the prosecution had indicated which would cause annoyance, save for putting the names of people only. 

As such, the court has ruled that such testimonies cannot be relied on to convict a person because the prosecution has failed to prove that there was common injury, danger to the public or destruction of property.

Consequently, the magistrate has acquitted the duo and directed that each of them starts the process to seek a refund of the Shs 500,000 that each had paid to be released on bail.

The activists have welcomed the ruling saying that the court has recognized that the citizens have a right to protest peacefully.

The pig protests have been commonly used by activists who subscribe to this group known as the Jobless Brotherhood which has since rebranded to the “Alternative”.

In 2016, their members including Luta Ferdinand who is now facing trial in the court-martial on different charges, and Joseph Lukwago were arrested for dumping piglets at parliament protesting the Shs 200 million given to each MP for buying personal cars.



Source – observer.ug

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Saudi Arabia executes 81 people in a single day | Death Penalty News

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The death penalty applied for a range of charges in the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom’s modern history.

Saudi Arabia has executed 81 men over the past 24 hours, including seven Yemenis and one Syrian national, on charges including “allegiance to foreign terrorist organisations” and holding “deviant beliefs”, state news agency Saudi Press Agency said, in the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom in its modern history.

The number dwarfed the 67 executions reported in the kingdom in 2021 and the 27 in 2020.

“These individuals … were convicted of various crimes including murdering innocent men, women and children,” SPA said on Saturday, citing a statement from the interior ministry.

“Crimes committed by these individuals also include pledging allegiance to foreign terrorist organisations, such as ISIS [ISIL], al-Qaeda and the Houthis,” it added.

Some travelled to conflict zones to join “terrorist organisations”, according to the SPA.

“The accused were provided with the right to an attorney and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process,” it said.

“The kingdom will continue to take a strict and unwavering stance against terrorism and extremist ideologies that threaten the stability of the entire world,” the report added.

The men included 37 Saudi nationals who were found guilty in a single case for attempting to assassinate security officers and targeting police stations and convoys, the report added.

Saudi Arabia’s last mass execution was in January 2016, when the kingdom executed 47 people, including a prominent opposition Shia leader who had rallied demonstrations in the kingdom.

In 2019, the kingdom beheaded 37 Saudi citizens, most of them minority Shia, in a mass execution across the country for alleged “terrorism”-related crimes.

Saudi Arabia’s human rights records have been under increasing scrutiny from rights groups and Western allies since the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

It has faced strong criticism of its restrictive laws on political and religious expression, and the implementation of the death penalty, including for defendants arrested when they were minors.

Saudi Arabia denies accusations of human rights abuses and says it protects its national security according to its laws.

SPA said the accused were provided with the right to a lawyer and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Nigerian student in Ukraine: 'Mummy we keep hearing bombs'

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Hauwa’s son Suleiman is a Nigerian student in Sumy – she says the family are fearful and anxious.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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