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Impassable Roads Force Pregnant Mothers in Gulu to Resort to TBAs

Susan Aber, one of the traditional birth attendants at Tee-Ladwong Parish says that she receives 3 to 4 mothers turning up for delivery each month at her home.
Patiko Heath Centre III in Patiko Sub County Headquarters

Audio 1

The impassable roads at Patiko Sub County in Gulu District have forced pregnant mothers in the area to resort to the services of traditional birth attendants. 

The only road in the area that links the community to a nearby health facility of Patiko Health Centre III measured about 11 kilometres is impassable and the transport for using a motorcycle has risen from 6,000 Shillings to over 20,000 Shillings. 

Susan Aber, one of the traditional birth attendants at Tee-Ladwong Parish says that she receives 3 to 4 mothers turning up for delivery each month at her home.  Aber explained that although she had successfully saved these mothers and their babies, she noted that many of the deliveries were with the retained placenta which nearly caused deaths. 

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She has appealed to the Sub County authorities to prioritize roads development to link the locals to the health facilities and other services from the Sub County Headquarters.  

Francis Okumu, one of the Boda Boda Cyclists at Ajulu Trading Centre says they have decided to increase the transport fare mostly at night due to the challenges they face in the area at work.  

“We only take the risk to carry people to the area because it’s either you get an accident or have a mechanical breakdown” Okumu added.  

James Okot, the Vice-Chairperson LCI of Tee- Ladwong village says the distance from the area to a health facility is far which affects the locals from health care and services. He wants the government to establish a health centre in the area.  

Denis Komakech, the In-charge Patiko Health Centre III says that the health facility is currently handling 30 to 35 deliveries on monthly basis.  

Komakech noted that the health facility had initially planned with development partners to put a temporary structure for the waiting room for mothers seeking for delivery but due to financial constraint, the plan was aborted.

Margret Arach, the LCIII Chairperson for Patiko Sub County, says that the District had taken over the three feeder roads in the Sub County which include Tee-Ladwong to Lugore Prison, Pawel Angany and Patira for upgrading and maintenance.  

However, despite the prioritization of maternal health services, there has only been a slight increase in antenatal care and services according to the Ministry of Health.   

The 2019/2020 annual health sector performance report indicates that deliveries at health facilities increased from 55% in the subsequent years to 63% in 2020 but declined by 4% due to the effects of COVID 19 pandemic.

Gulu District recorded 94 maternal deaths in 2019 which declined from 123 in the subsequent year and the leading causes of maternal deaths among others are as a result of haemorrhage and delays for antenatal services and care.