The Masindi Hospital administration is working on a program to decongest its maternity ward. Dr. Moses Bateganya, the hospital superintendent, says decongestion so far has led to a 70 percent reduction in the death of newborn babies.
The Masindi Hospital maternity ward was built in 1928 to handle only 10 cases a go. However, until recently, it handled more than 70 births everyday.
Dr. Bateganya explains that the overcrowding has been a major cause of death for newborn babies because they compete for a little oxygen in a carbon dioxide-laden room.
Now only 30 mothers are admitted into the ward. If there are any additional cases, they are taken to other wards in the hospital. As a result, in the last three months the hospital has only registered four deaths from the overcrowding.
Still, it is an uphill battle for the staff at Masindi Hospital.
Dr. Bateganya says the greatest challenge is mothers who arrive at the hospital with a large number of attendants and demand beds or accommodation for them.
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The concern of the Masindi Hospital staff for the newborn babies doesn't end there.
Dr. Bateganya says many babies die at home, shortly after release from hospital, because of poor hygiene and sanitation. He says the hospital is engaged in a number of programs to teach young mothers how to take better care of their children through simple sanitary practices.