At least 27
percent of the expectant mothers in Gulu district still give birth at the hands
of Traditional Births Attendants-TBAs. Dr. Baifa Arwenyo, a Gynecologist at
Gulu Regional Referral Hospital revealed this during the commemoration of the
International Day of Midwives on Wednesday.
Arwenyo explained that many of the expectant mothers still face the challenge
of the long distance to the health facilities, which forces them to resort to
TBAs, whose services were outlawed. She also revealed at 48 mothers died while
giving birth at different health facilities in Gulu district between 2019 and
Dr. Baifa Arwenyo
attributed the maternal deaths to hypertension and haemorrhage, something she
says can be managed with proper antenatal care, which most mothers haven’t
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Speaking at the same event, Beatrice Akello, the Principal
Assistant Nursing Officer at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital noted with concern
the shortage of midwives and poor working environment as one of the major
challenges compromising maternal health service delivery.
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Dr. Florence Oyella, the Head of the Pediatric Ward at Gulu Regional Referral
Hospital urged the government to invest in midwives if the Country is to
improve maternal health services. Alice Akwero, 40, a mother of 9 children with
a 2-month-old baby girl from Palaro Sub County is among the mothers who
survived death while trying to deliver at home.
Akwero disclosed that the nurses from a nearby health
facility turned her away when she reported for delivery due to lack of personal
equipment required for mothers at maternity. Edisa Angom, 66, a TBA from
Patiko Sub County, says that although she saved the lives of 70 through her
services she decided to abandon the practice. According to Angoma, she receives
at least 9 expectant mothers seeking her services but she refers them to
different health facilities for skilled delivery.
Dr. James Elima, the Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, who
presided over the celebrations urged the medical workers to adhere to the
medical profession ethic and serve diligently to avoid
litigation. “You have the lives to save for, which you have been called to
and it’s my prayers that you put aside your grievances as the government works
toward your welfare,” Dr. Elima said.
The 2019 report from UNICEF shows that Uganda
had reduced maternal deaths from 438 to 336 per 100,000 live births with 43 newborn deaths per 1,000 live births. The report further indicates that 7 midwives
in Uganda currently attend to 1,000 mothers. There are 147 midwives in Gulu district, 53 at
Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, 40 at St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor and 54 at lower