Numbers Overwhelm Mbarara Hospital Maternity Ward

2260 Views Mbarara, Uganda

In short
Up to 700 babies are born at Mbarara hospital every month, a big number for the 35 beds in the antenatal ward, three in the labour ward and other 14 others in the gynaecology section making a total of 52 beds.

 The maternity ward at Mbarara is overwhelmed by the numbers of people who walk in to access their services.

The ward is unable to host all the expectant mothers and those who will have given birth.
Some of the expectant mothers opt to sleep in the corridors and the veranda.

The facility which has got only 52 beds receives hundreds of expectant mothers from Ankole, Kigezi and some parts of Rwenzori.
Mbarara hospital delivers up to 700 mothers every month, a big number for the 35 beds in the antenatal ward, three in the labour ward and other 14 others in the gynaecology section making a total of 52 beds.

Mbarara hospital was built in 1930 and has since then undergone several repairs and expansion but the maternity section remains without space.
Our reporter visited the hospital and found expectant mothers and their attendants competing for space. Some of the mothers sleep in the corridor and others squeeze themselves in between the beds.

Pieces of cloth are used by visitors to the facility to separate beds in a bid to ensure privacy.

Jesca Kamusiime, an expectant mother says that the congestion pushes away some mothers who go to clinics with less experienced or unqualified health workers.
She says she has been to a private clinic before but decided not to go back because health workers had to send her back to the hospital again when she developed complications while trying to deliver her first born.

Kamusiime adds that the congestion has at times resulted into serious quarrels between the expectant mothers as they compete for space at times leading to fights.
URN spoke to Janny Baguma, 27, who was attending to his expectant wife and has been at the facility for the last three days. He says priority is given to those who are believed to be about to give birth leaving the rest to suffer.
//Cue: Runyankole "Ntwire hanu ndwarize...
Cue out:.....abarikuba ababashendekyereiize."// 
Moses Kayondo who heads the department says health workers are also concerned about the congestion and that they have forwarded their concerns to the hospital administration.
Kayondo says that expectant mothers need privacy and comfort which has been compromised by the congestion.

Therestine Barigye, the executive director at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, told our reporter that the absence of enough space is a great challenge. Barigye says that the department is crucial since it involves delicate procedures and does not operate well in case of congestion as it compromises sanitation.

He says that the facility receives between 380 to 420 patients daily seeking medical attention for different conditions.
Barigye says the hospital administration is in talks with the central government to ensure that the issue of congestion at the maternity ward is addressed.


About the author

Anthony Kushaba
For Anthony Kushaba, journalism is not just a job; it is a calling. Kushaba believes journalism is one of the few platforms where the views of the oppressed and margainalised can be heard. This is what his journalism aims to do: bring to light untold stories.

Kushaba is the Mbarara region URN bureau chief. Mitooma, Ntungamo, Bushenyi, Sheema, Isingiro, and Kiruhura districts fall under his docket. Kushaba has been a URN staff member since 2012.

Kushaba is a journalism graduate from Uganda Christian University Study Centre at Bishop Barham College in Kabale. Before joining URN, Kushaba worked with Voice of Kigezi (2008), Bushenyi FM (2010) and later on to Voice of Muhabura.

Kushaba's journalism interests centre on conflict, peace and electoral reporting. Kushaba occasionally writes on tourism, health, religion and education. He describes himself as highly driven and will pursue a tip until it yields a story.