Activists Protest Poor Maternal Health Services Top story


In short
Nighty Judith Ongom, one of the protesters told Uganda Radio Network during the procession that in addition to inadequate number of medical workers, male and female patients at Mucwini Health Center III share the same ward.

Health activists have staged a demonstration in Kitgum town demanding that government improves maternal healthcare services in lower health centers in the district. 

The health activists from Labongo Akwang and Mucwini sub counties took to the streets on Saturday morning, saying the few medical workers in lower health centers are overwhelmed by the high number of expectant mothers seeking care. 
Nighty Judith Ongom, one of the protesters told Uganda Radio Network that in addition to inadequate number of medical workers, male and female patients at Mucwini Health Center III share the same ward.
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Santa Lamwaka, a protester from Labongo Akwang Sub County says Akwang HC III is not any better for expectant mothers.

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Twenty-five-year old Agnes Aciro, gave birth to her three children at Mucwini Health Center III. According to Aciro, her labour is usually characterised by heavy bleeding, which requires close monitoring by a trained health worker.
She however says Mucwini health Center III has only one midwife deployed on each shift. Aciro reveals that she delivered in 2009, without the help of a health worker as the only midwife on duty had to attend to six other mothers. 
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Aciro narrates that her baby fell into a bucket filled with filth and blood she lost during labour. According to Aciro, with the exhaustion, she severed a fluid line stuck to her left artery and moved fast to save her baby.
"The only thing in my mind was that the baby would die if its placenta is accidentally ruptured. And the midwife was a distance away helping a mother with complicated labour," she explained.
Clover Athieno, Communications Officer of Justice and Rights Associate, a non-governmental organisation working with health activists in Mucwini and Akwang sub counties, says the risk of getting infected with HIV during such labour is too real to be visualised.
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She appealed to government to address the problems affecting delivery of maternal healthcare services.  
The protesters later delivered a petition to Geoffrey Oguti, the Speaker Kitgum District Council.  He informed the activists that the Council had earmarked funds to address some of their concerns.
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Rhoda Oroma, the Principal Secretary to the head of civil service in Kitgum district, says more midwives have been recruited to bring down the high infant and maternal mortality rates, which she says are already on a decline.
Uganda's loses 16 mothers daily to preventable pregnancy related complications.


About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.