Chiefs’ council to fight for women rights

Women can count on the Council of Chiefs in their fight for equal opportunities and safer motherhoods, Chief Samson Katsande Nyamukoho has said.

“Be assured that the nation should bank on the chiefs’ council as we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that expectant mothers have access to maternal health and their rights are guaranteed.” – Chief Samson Katsande Nyamukoho
“Be assured that the nation should bank on the chiefs’ council as we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that expectant mothers have access to maternal health and their rights are guaranteed.” – Chief Samson Katsande Nyamukoho

In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean and in a recent speech at Chitungwiza Central Hospital, Nyamukoho said chiefs were the custodians of culture and would use customary law to protect and promote women and every person’s right to life, liberty and security.

Nyamukoho emphasised his council’s commitment towards ensuring that a woman’s right to live a safe and secure life was protected.

“Chiefs will provide principles, best practices and strategies, and advocate for maternal health and gender equality in Zimbabwe,” said Nyamukoho.

He said women’s rights would not be realistic if the annual maternal death rate remained at the recorded 3,000. The statistic, according to Nyamukoho, was a wake-up call for the chiefs’ council and everyone else to take action.

The issue of women who die giving birth was both a societal and medical problem, which would be dealt with by the chiefs’ council accordingly.

Nyamukoho said traditional leadership and other stakeholders would address the underlying causes and consequences of societal attitudes, misconceptions and behaviour, which might be contributing towards maternal deaths and other deprivations of women rights.

Chiefs would raise awareness among communities and work with interested parties to tackle gender-related causes of women’s marginalisation.

Traditional leadership acknowledged that compromising the health of women affected every child, family and community, and the future of the country. There was a need, he said, to share possible remedies at community and national level.

“Be assured that the nation should bank on the chiefs’ council as we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that expectant mothers have access to maternal health and their rights are guaranteed,” he said.

“As chiefs, we are together with the nation and all like-minded people in the struggle for safety and protection of mothers of this country, as they fulfil their role of giving life to the next generation.”

Chiefs would help ensure that social norms, values and behaviour didn’t affect the well-being of expectant mothers, he said. They vowed zero tolerance to death in childbirth due to lack of access to health services, detrimental societal attitudes and cultural and traditional beliefs.

According to a recent Zimbabwe demographic and health survey, 10 women die every day of pregnancy related complications in Zimbabwe. The maternal mortality ratio is 960 deaths per 100,000 live births.

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