31 Jul 2011

Ugandan hospital records 49 maternal deaths in one year: we need jets to fight this!

The human tragedies
Mbale Regional Hospital in Eastern Uganda registered 49 maternal deaths between July last year and May this year, a senior consultant obstetrician at the hospital has disclosed.

Addressing participants of a course held at the Health Manpower Development Centre in Mbale town, Dr. Tom Otim said most maternal deaths have been caused by excess bleeding and raptured uterus.

“Some mothers especially those from rural areas do not attend regular ante-natal clinics while others delay to go to health units when they begin feeling labour pains, and at times it is too late to save them,” Otim said.

He stressed the importance of attending ante-natal clinics where health workers can monitor a pregnant mother and attend to life-threatening conditions like anaemia among other complications.

He said the maternity ward is overwhelmed by expectant mothers yet it serves 13 districts, and is understaffed.

Mbale district health officer Dr. John Baptist Waniaye said recent statistics indicate that 600 out of 100,000 expectant mothers die during child birth in Mbale, and the midwife to expectant mothers’ ratio is at one to 1,000.
Government priority
The Government of Uganda took $740 million (about Shs1.7 trillion) worth of taxpayers’ money from Bank of Uganda to buy fighter jets and other military hardware from Russia.
Sukhoi Su-30MK2 aircraft picture
“Some health centres have one midwife who works 24hours while several others lack accommodation to stay near the health centre so as to attend to emergencies,” Waniaye said
Mbale hospital director Dr. Benon Wanume said the health ministry has issued a policy requiring that all maternal deaths be notified to relevant authorities within 24 hours.

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