Many expectant mothers are now forced to sleep on the floor in the ward. When space on the floor in the ward runs out, their attendants sleep in corridors of the ward. Or outside on the hospital veranda and compound.
Kabale Hospital’s maternity ward is grappling with a congestion problem as the hospital struggles to accommodate expectant mothers from Kabale, Kisoro, Kanungu, Kisoro, Rukungiri and Ntungamo districts. The 32 bed ward on average receives 13 expectant mothers daily and in total treated 352 mothers in the month of June alone.
A URN visit to the hospital found that as a result of the lack of enough beds in the ward, many expectant mothers are now forced to sleep on the floor in the ward. When space on the floor in the ward runs out, their attendants sleep in corridors of the ward. Or outside on the hospital veranda and compound.
The maternity ward in-charge at the regional referral hospital Regina Namukwaya says that there is only so much the hospital staff can do. She says that although the maternity ward has to handle over 300 cases a month, the department, for example, only has two obstetricians with nurses working alongside them. Students from Kabale School of Comprehensive Nursing and Kabale Institute of Health Sciences at Makanga hill will come in to assist from time to time.
In spite of these challenges, Namukwaya says that of the 13 expectant mothers the hospital receives on a daily basis, it also manages to discharge 6-7 mothers every day.
Namukwaya shares some numbers. She says that for the 352 expectant mothers recorded in the month of June, 247 of them gave birth normally. 81 of those mothers had to undergo cesarean section birth while 9 months suffered still births. A follow up shows that 3 more babies died before completing a week, while another infant death had been recorded as its mother was being operated.
Out of ten women who give birth at the hospital, Namukwaya further reveals, two of them undergo cesarean section.
Namukwaya, who also doubles as the acting Principal Nursing officer, says that the loss of babies at birth is not common at the facility. The few cases that occur are mainly due to late referrals from lower health, whereby the mother and baby arrive in critical condition that is almost irreversible.
Sheillah Ahereza, an expectant mother from Maziba sub-county in Kabale district, says that the ward is very congested and uncomfortable as everybody tries to occupy every available space.
Musimenta Tukamushaba, who is a resident of Muko sub-county in Kabale district, is one of those who are sleeping on the veranda. Tukamushaba is attending to a patient but explains that some people supposed to be admitted to the hospital cannot handle the inconvenience like she is doing.
She says that she has seen a few women opt to stay at the homes of their relatives in Kabale town yet they might need emergency medical attention.
Dr .Placid Mihayo, the Kabale regional referral hospital Medical superintendent, admits the hospital is overstretched. He attributes the problem partly to what he termed as “self-referral” by some expectant mothers who choose to come straight to the main hospital.
Dr. Mihayo says Kabale Hospital urgently needs to build a larger maternity ward to extend services to the people. Although a private wing of the ward is under construction at the hospital, it will be for expectant mothers who can afford to meet the costs of admission there. It is hoped the wing will be complete by 2013.
Built in 1946, Kabale Hospital has a 200 bed capacity and serves as the region’s referral hospital. The situation recorded in the maternity ward is spread across the other departments of the hospital too.
maternal mortality rates