Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Luweero district registered an increase of 10 percent deliveries in health centres in the 2019/2020 financial year despite disruptions caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.
According to the Luweero District Health Facility Performance report for the financial year 2019/2020, the government and not for profit health centres recorded 18,355 deliveries from 16,414 recorded in the previous financial year. This represented a 10.6 percent increase.
Some of the health facilities that registered the highest increase are Luweero Hospital with 3,399 deliveries from 2,368 in the previous year, Kalagala Health Centre IV with 1,030 deliveries from 657 and Nyimbwa Health centre IV with 794 from 631 among others. The others with an increase are Nsawo, Makulubita, Wabusana, Kasozi and Kamira Health Center IIIs among others.
Luweero District Health Officer Dr Innocent Nkonwa attributes the increase on the impact of the Result Based Financing Grant, Installation of solar energy at health centres, sensitization, acquisition of tri-cycles to ease transportation of mothers and orientation of health management committees among others.
He explains that since the district enrolled on the Result Based Financing (RBF), there is increased funding to health centres and improvement of maternal health services.
Nkonwa says because of the additional funding, health centres have been able to renovate their maternity wards, buy equipment and motivate health workers who have in turn administered quality services, which has attracted more mothers to the facilities.
Nkonwa reveals that for every woman who delivers at a health center, the facility receives 30,000 Shillings under the RBF grant that is used to address gaps at the facility to attract more mothers. Nkonwa hopes that the district will hit the 80 percent target of mothers delivering in health centers in the financial year 2020/21 from the current 71 percent.
During March-April 2020, several expectant mothers in Luweero district cried foul over the ban on public transport as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic raising fears that many could die in communities after failing to get transport means to health centers.
But Nkonwa explains that this was quickly sorted out by deploying more tri-cycles in rural health centers and allowing public transport to evacuate the mothers. Flavia Namatovu, a resident of Kizito zone in Luweero town council says she delivered at Luweero hospital in February this year and witnessed significant improvement in infrastructure as well as the services.
Margaret Najjuko, another resident says the maternity ward at Luweero hospital has been expanded and equipped with more beds making it conducive for delivery compared to the past.
Prossy Najjuka, a candidate for the Luweero District Woman parliamentary seat says although there has been an increase in health center deliveries, mothers still complain over lack of mama kits and absenteeism of some health workers, which must be addressed.
Despite the increase in health center deliveries, at least 17 mothers are reported to have died during delivery in the financial year under review. The deaths are linked to delayed arrival to health centers, complications from delivery, infections and high blood pressure.
There are 41 government facilities, 26 private not for profit and 18 private for profit health centers in Luweero district.