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Bishop Ssemogerere de-campaigns TBAs as he commissions UGX 200M maternity ward

From L-R Nakasongola County MP Noah Mutebi Wanzala, Bishop P. Ssemogerere & Fr. Peter Mukasa Masembe jointly cut a ribbon at the commissioning of St. Peter maternity ward at Our Lady of Lourdes Health Center III-Nakasongola.

Nakasongola, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  Rt. Rev. Paul Ssemogerere, the Bishop of Kasana-Luweero Catholic Diocese has noted with concern the persistent maternal deaths in Uganda despite the presence of health facilities with a fully-fledged staff. According to the November 2020 report by Ministry of Health [MoU], the current maternal mortality ratio in Uganda stands at 336 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.   

The Infant mortality stands at 43 deaths per 1000 live births with 42% of the mortality occurring during the neonatal period. Bishop Ssemogerere notes that many expectant mothers in rural areas still visit Traditional Birth Attendants [TBAs] alias ‘Mulerwa’ especially when they develop labour pains. 

The Prelate argues that although the TBAs sometimes help deliver the mothers without any incidents, sometimes they fail because of serious complications and by the time the TBAs think of referring them to health facilities; it’s already too late thus leading to unnecessary deaths. 

Bishop Ssemogerere has asked expectant mothers to refrain from playing with their lives by going to TBAs and make use of the health facilities for antenatal care. He also asks medics in the facilities to always be professional to bring to zero maternal deaths. The Bishop was speaking during the commissioning of St. Peter’s maternity worth Shillings 200 million at Our Lady of Lourdes Health Center III-Nakasongola.     

Nakasongola District Health Officer-DHO Dr. Agaba Byamukama concurs with Bishop Ssemogerere’s campaign. Dr. Agaba argues that when an expectant mother goes to deliver at the hands of a TBA, the latter is considered as a trainee on the job because they can’t detect what is inside the womb due to the absence of specialized equipment such as ultrasound scan, which exposes expectant mother’s life and that of her unborn baby to danger. 

Mike Kasoma is a Traditional Birth Attendant operating from Luzzi zone in Wobulenzi Town Council in Luweero district. Kasoma admits that they [TBAs] are not professional but they shouldn’t be swept under the carpet.

He reasons that they need government support to train them because they also have some advantages over the midwives. 

Jane Frances Naluyiga, the In-Charge of Our Lady of Lourdes Health Center III-Nakasongola, says that they have been facing challenges of handling expectant mothers since the health facility was established in 1993. According to Naluyiga, in 2013, they resolved to fundraise to construct a maternity ward. 

She says that they have sunk over Shillings 200 million in the construction of the maternity ward, with the help of Zimu Foundation and the Church.  Naluyiga says that prior to the construction of the maternity ward; they would only admit one mother in a space of 24 to 48 hours.     

Grace Nabitaka and Rose Nansubuga from Lwebisenyi and Sikyes village in Lwampanga and Wabinyonyi Sub-Counties in Nakasongola district are some of the excited mothers who have welcomed the development respectively. They say that they have been saved from the long journey they have been moving to hospitals such as Kiwoko and Nakaseke in Nakaseke district.

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