Nyakabande refugees’ reception Centre is home to thousands of Congolese refugees fleeing from the renewed clashes between government and rebels loyal to renegade army officers Bosco Ntaganda and Col. Machenga
Postnatal and Expectant mothers at Nyakabande refugees’ reception Centre in Kisoro are demanding for special treatment from Red Cross officials saying they are finding it hard to survive at center. Nyakabande refugees’ reception Centre is home to thousands of Congolese refugees fleeing from the renewed clashes between government and rebels loyal to renegade army officers Bosco Ntaganda and Col. Machenga.
But expectant mothers and those fresh from delivery say they are finding it hard to survive in the camp because of congestion. They argue that this exposes them and their newly born babies to diseases and infections. Jaencklude Nyiramahirwe, delivered in a congested tent on Sunday last week with the help of other women. Nyiramahirwe says that she didn’t expect to deliver on Sunday, but she started feeling labor pains on Sunday at about 10:30pm but none of the Red Cross officials was around to attend to her.
She says that she was lucky to have a normal delivery to a baby girl at about 5:00am and was taken to Kisoro Hospital the next morning. Nyiramahirwe, however says that the living conditions in the camp are not favorable for both expectant and fresh mothers from delivery. Jackline Mwiza, also gave birth in the camp and is worried about the health of her newly born son. She says that in addition to the poor living conditions, they don’t have sufficient food in the camp, which affects the mothers.
Mwiza says that they are facing a rough time because their husbands are not by their side to help them, and therefore appeals to the authorities to allow their husbands to stay with them. Judita Nyaraneza who is in her second trimester says that she finds it very hard to access antenatal care from the nearby health center, because of movement restriction. She says in most cases they are blocked from the leaving the camps because the authority suspect that they want to escape which is not true.
But Johnson Kyomukama, the Kisoro Red Cross Field Officer says that they have been taking expectant mothers to Kisoro hospital for regular checkups and delivery. He says that they have started identifying and providing separate tents for mothers who have given birth at the Camp, adding that over 40 have so far been identified. He says that the mothers are given blankets and milk to supplement the porridge taken at 9:00am in the morning as well as super which they take at 4:00pm.
Kyomukama however says that, they still have a huge challenge to provide proper meals for the mothers as they are still registering more arrivals. Agnes Ayinkamiye the in charge of the Maternity ward at Kisoro Hospital says that the biggest challenge they are facing with the refugees brought to the hospital is lack of documents, detailing the history of their visits to the antenatal clinic.
She faults Red Cross for delaying to refer expectant mothers to the hospital saying this has become a problem because the mothers are rushed there when they are too tired and weak. Dr Michael Baganizi, the medical superintendent Kisoro Hospital says that 36 refugees have successfully given birth at the hospital. He however appeals to Red Cross to put in place special consideration for expectant mothers as those who come to the hospital from the camp are always weak.