By Patrick Jaramogi
Uganda is experiencing poor performance in maternal health despite government efforts to reduce maternal, neonatal and mortality in the country, a new study has indicated.
The study conducted by Action Group for Health, Human Rights and HIV/AIDS(AGHA) Uganda revealed that 438 deaths per 100,000 live births are registered countrywide of late.
The study indicates that for every 1,000 live births in Uganda during the seven years preceding the 2011UDHS (Uganda Demographic Health Survey) four women died during pregnancy and child birth.
The study conducted over a year in selected Health Center IIIs in Budaka and Pallisa districts indicated that much as 97 percent of the population opted to visit the health centers, some opted to stay out due to rudeness and un-available health services.
The AGHA executive director Dennis Odwe noted that majority of the women interviewed accepted knowing issues related to family planning and antenatal but feared to access the services due to what they described as ‘harsh’ husbands.
“Some pregnant mothers feared to go for antenatal and preferred to go for the Traditional Birth Attendants because they feared the rude midwives,” said Odwe at the launch of the study in Ntinda yesterday.
The study indicated that only 56 percent of women delivered from health facilities compared to the 27 percent who delivered at home assisted by traditional birth attendants. “60 percent of the women reported that they were counseled on the different family planning methods but only 27 percent reported using the services,” said Joan Kilande the program officer.
Kilande said the study had observed that most government health workers also asked for money from patients, something she said discourages patients from visiting health facilities.
The consultant Zerubahel Ojoo said government should consider resuming cost-sharing in health facilities. “If Ugandans cant afford to contribute something small for treatment of their children and families, then the health sector will remain with issues,” she said.
She recommended that Parliament passes a law that will see families contribute towards treatment in public health facilities.
Pallisa Woman Member of Parliament Judith Amoit said the study would act as an eye opener for politicians in the district to check on the irregularities.
‘Government policy bans payments of maternal health services provided at health facility level III but is sad that the report indicates 50 percent paid for the service, this is unfortunate,” she said.
Jacob Opolot the Pallisa County MP said they would investigate why the grievances redress system was weak in public health facilities.
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Maternal health issues still high- study