Despite the district health department insists there is an increase in the number of women giving birth from health facilities, some women have disputed the figures, saying that they are deceptive.
Women in Kabarole district are disputing statistics released by the district health department indicating that the number of mothers delivering in health centers is on the increase. According to the 2012 report (Jan-April) of the Health Management Information System, the percentage of women delivering in health centers has increased from 48% in 2011 to 70%.
The report attributes the increase to improved services at the health facilities, community sensitization by the village heath teams, recruitment of more medical staff and improved referral system. However, women in the district accuse the district heath department of exaggerating the figures.
Maria Kahunde, a resident of Bukuku trading centre says that although there is sensitization, the response of the women is lukewarm. Kahunde says that some pregnant women have gone to the health centers and found the services poor. She says that there are no maternity beds; only one nurse attends to more than ten women, which forces many of them to give birth from their homes or go to Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs).
When Uganda Radio Network, visited Bukuku health centre IV, which was included in the report that it’s fully equipped, there were only two beds in the maternity ward, one of the beds was being shared by two women, while some pregnant women were sleeping on the floor. Grace Namara, a nurse says that they are forced to turn away some of the women because they don’t have enough beds.
Faith Karamagi, the chairperson of the district women council says that the figures are deceptive. Karamagi says that in March, members of the women council visited health centers and found the conditions appalling. She says that a report was compiled and sent to the health department, but she is surprised that the department has released false figures.
Karamagi also says that the district has failed to work on some of the roads, making it difficult for the women to access the health facilities.
//Cue in: “I don’t think…
Cue out: “…there are still problems.”//
But the district health officer, Richard Mugahi insists that the figures are genuine. He says that the records were obtained from the health centres III and IV.
//Cue in: “improved services at the facilities…”
Cue out: “…mothers gain confidence in the system.”//
Preliminary data from the Uganda Demographic Health Survey 2011 show that the percentage of women giving birth in health facilities at the national level has increased to 57% compared to 42% in 2006.
dr. richard mugahi