Kyotera, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Dozens of expectant mothers in Kyebe sub-county and Kasensero Town Council are stuck after health workers there abandoned the facilities as a result of floods.
The floods that had initially cut off Kyapa-Kasensero road intensified last week following the persistent rainfall in the area. This is the only road that connects Kasensero and Kyebe communities to Kyotera –Mutukula highway. As a result, the health workers and other road users can hardly cross to either side of the road.
To cross the 4-kilometre flooded section from Toome wetland, travellers use boats and a tractor that charges up to 25,000 Shillings. Today a woman, only identified as Nampera, delivered her baby in a boat while crossing the flooded area to Kakuuto health centre IV after failing to get services at Kyebe Health Centre III.
Currently, there are only three health workers at Kyebe Health Centre III who cannot handle pregnancy-related emergencies. The health centre serves as a referral for Nangoma, Kasensero and Kyebe communities. According to Francis Kizza, the incoming Kyebe LCIII Chairperson, up to 14 health workers including midwives have not reported for duty since last month leaving the expectant mothers helpless.
He says that the situation has forced pregnant women to seek maternal health services from Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) in the area yet they are not qualified to handle patients with complicated conditions. He cited a woman identified as Resty Nantongo who had decided to deliver with a TBA in absence of the midwives, but her situation worsened as a result of a retained placenta which led to severe bleeding.
Dr Emmanuel Ssekyeru, the Kalisizo Hospital Medical Superintendent explained that a retained placenta can be fatal since it causes severe bleeding. He adds that any complications among expectant mothers are treated as emergency cases that require urgent attention.
According to Kizza, the existing health workers are not competent to handle complicated pregnancy cases. He further says that access to healthcare is the most important thing to consider and appealed to the government to construct the road to enable quick emergency response for the people of Kyebe, Nangoma and Kasensero.
Kizza further explains that even Isaac Opira, the Kyebe HCIII In-charge has spent quite some time without reaching the hospital. He noted that Opira reported on Monday to dispatch some facilitation for Village Health Teams to help patients in their absence.
Harriet Nabirye, another expectant mother from Kyebe says that she had to cross the floods to seek maternity services from Kakuuto HC-IV since there is no one to attend to her at Kyebe HC-III.
Francis Kato, the Kasensero HCII In-charge, says that the majority of health workers have not returned for their shift and the existing health workers are overworked. Kato however says that they have not received any emergencies so far during the catastrophe of the flood.
Dr Edward Muwanga, the District Health Officer, says the rainy season has interrupted healthcare services by limiting access to health facilities due to impassable roads.