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Health workers justify charging C-section fees

Mayuge, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Health workers at Mayuge health center IV have confessed to charging expectant mothers C-section fees over inadequate government supplies to the facility.

They charge between 250,000-300,000 Shillings for C-section to mothers in need of this services as a means of reducing maternal mortality. The money is used to largely purchase anaesthetic drugs and other post recovery medication for patients after the C-section.

Most of them who spoke on condition of anonymity say that a section of mothers enroll for antenatal services during the late stages of their pregnancies, which complicates the final maternal processes, hence contributing to the increase of C-section cases yet government supplies are scarce.

A midwife who spoke on condition of anonymity says that they were losing many mothers before covid19 time due to lack of supplies required in handling C-section, but after vigorous assessments, their superiors would prescribe and task willing patients to buy the required supplies from pharmacies of their choice.

She says that this practice was proven to be time saving for patients who spent hours procuring transport means, travel to Jinja regional referral hospital’s maternity wing, where they could on several occasions find doctors in the middle of handling other emergencies and at times die in the waiting queues under avoidable circumstances.

She notes that, this practice, although not officially sanctioned by Ministry of health and is termed illegal, has contributed to the saving of mothers, with only one mortality case registered last year over failure to access emergency C-section services.

Another health worker says that they received close to 200 teenage mothers last year and with most of their body organs not fully developed and unable to undergo normal delivery, they were recommended for C-section, which not only allowed them to successfully deliver live babies, but also enjoy decent maternal experience, without tears in their private parts.

Meanwhile, the deputy facility in-charge, Jamir Wangubo says that their facility was upgraded to level about three years ago, but they still receive supplies of a health center III, unable to service the needs of the growing catchment population of over 25,126 patients, inclusive of 1,200 pregnant mothers annually.

He notes that, of all the 1,200 pregnant mothers delivered at the facility annually, 360 are candidates of C-section, yet the available resources are inadequate to accord them completely free government services, so it turns into an indirect cost sharing module, where they purchase medical supplies and the doctors conduct the surgery.

Wangubo says that in a cycle of two months, National Medical Stores-NMS delivers supplies to accommodate 20 mothers, yet they handle 120 within the same period.

Wangubo alludes that, under such circumstances, 19 mothers are worked on at a free cost, one set of medication is reserved for emergencies, whereas, the 101 have to pay to have such services in a period of every two months.

He adds that in circumstances where mothers are unable to purchase the supplies, they are referred to Jinja regional referral hospital for further management in a bid to avoid either losing her, the baby or both.

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