Current requests/research projects underway:

Women, Pregnancy, Health & Living on the Margins: The Case of Zimbabwe (in partnership with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and Dr Nelson Muparamoto, Department of Sociology, University of Zimbabwe)

Every year about 140 million women in the world aged between 15 and 49 years give birth, and about 30 million of these women are in Africa.[1] Although motherhood is often a positive experience, in some instances it is associated with complications, ill-health and death.[2] Nearly 250 000 women die in Africa due to pregnancy related complications and the major causes of maternal morbidity and mortality are haemorrhage, infections, hypertension, unsafe abortion and obstructed labour. Globally, the health of pregnant women and neonates has become a wicked problem that is often investigated and monitored because of the various health risks associated with pregnancy. Various scholars argue that most lives of pregnant women and their infants can be saved by reducing delays in provision of care and encouraging child births supervised by skilled attendants with adequate resources to use in managing obstetric emergencies. Nonetheless, though having universal skilled birth attendance could reduce maternal mortality by 13-33% and neonatal mortality by 20-30 % globally,[3] little is known about the lived experiences and social support needs of pregnant women living on the margins of the state which have a bearing on their health and their infant. This project focuses on the state of care among communities living on the margins of the state in Zimbabwe and the processes they follow to secure healthy living for pregnant women and neonates. The state of care examined refers to both the prevailing conditions that have a bearing on the livelihood of pregnant women and their new-borns, and the provisions of the government in providing care to rural communities. Research suggests that about 60 % of women in Africa give birth without the assistance of a skilled healthcare professional and most of the maternal deaths observed on the continent are closely linked to the state of care available to pregnant women.[4] This is certainly the case in Southern Africa, and Zimbabwe more specifically where 67% of the population lives in rural areas, and there is limited understanding of the lived experiences and social support needs of women living on the margins of the state. Instead, many generalisations and assumptions are made about their livelihood and health practices leading to decisions around their care being made for and not by them.

[1] Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT). 2014, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2014: Key Findings, Harare, Zimbabwe: ZIMSTAT.

[2] World Health Organisation 2015, 10 Facts on Maternal Health, <>.

[3] Masala-Chokwe, M.E.T. & Ramukumba, T.S. 2017, The lived experiences and social support needs of first-time mothers at health care facilities in the City of Tshwane, South Africa, Curationis 40 (1), a1680.

[4] Adjiwanou V. and Le Grand T. 2014, Gender inequality and the use of maternal healthcare services in rural Sub-Saharan Africa, Health and Place, 29 (2014): 67-78.