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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - PloS one
Title Praying until death: apostolicism, delays and maternal mortality in Zimbabwe
Volume 11
Issue 8
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0160170
Religion affects people’s daily lives by solving social problems, although it creates others. Female sexual and reproductive health are among the issues most affected by religion. Apostolic sect members in Zimbabwe have been associated with higher maternal mortality. We explored apostolic beliefs and practices on maternal health using 15 key informant interviews in 5 purposively selected districts of Zimbabwe. Results show that apostolicism promotes high fertility, early marriage, non-use of contraceptives and low or non-use of hospital care. It causes delays in recognizing danger signs, deciding to seek care, reaching and receiving appropriate health care. The existence of a customized spiritual maternal health system demonstrates a huge desire for positive maternal health outcomes among apostolics. We conclude that apostolic beliefs and practices exacerbate delays between onset of maternal complications and receiving help, thus increasing maternal risk. We recommend complementary and adaptive approaches that address the maternal health needs of apostolics in a religiously sensitive manner.

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