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Naggalama Hospital campaigns to save mothers

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th November 2007 03:00 AM

GIVING birth should bring joy to a mother and her family. Sadly, it comes with mourning as many women die from birth-related complications, the UN resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative has said.

GIVING birth should bring joy to a mother and her family. Sadly, it comes with mourning as many women die from birth-related complications, the UN resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative has said.

By Halima Shaban

GIVING birth should bring joy to a mother and her family. Sadly, it comes with mourning as many women die from birth-related complications, the UN resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative has said.

Theophane Nikyema was speaking during a tour of St. Francis Hospital Naggalama recently. Located in Mukono district, the hospital is faced with many health problems, but it has tried to reduce the number of mothers and babies who die during birth.

Dr Kenneth Kigoonya, the medical superintendent, says in 2000, the hospital faced closure and patients were dying because they could not afford the high user charges.

A study conducted in 2000 revealed that user fees had escalated and the majority of mothers could no longer access antenatal services.

However, since 2001, the hospital lowered the fees, targeting pregnant women, children and patients with chronic sicknesses. Currently, patients pay sh1,000 for consultation.

Kigoonya says complications during and after childbirth such as overbleeding are a leading cause of death to mothers. Some mothers do not attend antenatal clinics during pregnancy, others report late with irreversible conditions, while some opt for traditional birth attendants.

He says: “After revising the hospital fees, we got many clients. The number of mothers attending antenatal clinics has risen from 5% to 40%, although some still go to traditional birth attendants (TBAs).”

“Pregnant mothers feel more at ease with TBAs than with midwives, yet TBAs cannot handle complex medical problems. This usually results in death,” Kigoonya says

The hospital serves six sub-counties in Mukono. It trains health workers who are dispatched to the community to sensitise residents about health issues.

The United Nations Development programme is investing in health, food production and access to clean water to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Kigoonya says reproductive health has greatly improved in the area. Before, the hospital used to carry out about 200 deliveries annually, but this has risen to 1,900.

To prevent malaria, Kigonya says, they give out mosquito nets and anti-malarial drugs to pregnant mothers and babies.
Joseph Lumama, a member of the hospitals board of directors, says: “Ever since the hospital subsidised its fees, many mothers attend antenatal care. The community is also sensitised about health issues,”

Meanwhile, Joel Ogwang reports that the Australian Development Agency (ADA) has donated sanitary equipment worth sh1.5b to the hospital.

The equipment includes a 72KVA stand-by generator, solar-power system and water heater, fire extinguishers, washing machine and a UPS/inverter.
Kigoonya said both human and material resources were needed to maintain the equipment.

Commissioning the facilities recently, Monsignor Ignatius Kayita of Lugazi Diocese, said: “We are grateful to ADA for coming to our rescue. We should ensure that the facilities are functional for more than 10-years.”

Naggalama Hospital campaigns to save mothers

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