KAMPALA. As projections into next financial year’s budget continue, MPs have been petitioned to push for increased numbers of midwives in public hospitals aimed at reducing maternal deaths.
Presenting a petition on Friday to a section of MPs under the Uganda Women’s Parliamentary Association, a civil society organization, Centre for Health Human Rights and Development, cited the dire need to have the number of midwives increased to tackle the huge workload.
Statistics indicate that although Uganda has made some progress on reducing maternal mortality deaths, the mortality ratios are still below the target of less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.
The activists also reminded the Parliamentarians about their pledge to lobby government to increase on the number of midwives.
“In efforts to contribute towards the struggle to reduce the maternal mortality ration, the Parliament passed a resolution in 2011 urging government to progressively recruit more midwives in lower health facilities and annually give a progress report,” the petition to female MPs read in part.
Further, the petitioners said: “The government had to further report to Parliament on the status of the implementation on the resolution in two months. It’s apparent to note that although some recruitment have been made, no reports have been made to Parliament for further recommendations and actions.”
A senior nurse at Mulago national referral hospital, Ms Mary Adongo, said the very few midwives in the country are overwhelmed by the surging number of mothers delivering.
Ms Adongo told the legislators that when it comes to night time at Mulago maternity ward, the shift has about three midwives against about 30 mothers giving birth on average each night.
She said what they do is to first ensure mothers deliver their babies safely and then attend to those in emergency situations.
“The challenges are immense at Mulago maternity ward especially at night. It is hell… hell….and we as midwives see hell,” Adongo told MPs in Kampala shortly after being handed the petition.
“Yesterday (April 27) I had to deliver six mothers alone. In most cases what we do is to first pull out the babies and only attend to those who have developed complications like in need of resuscitation,” Ms Adongo said, adding that because of the overwhelming workload, she is opting for early retirement.
After listening to their plea, the MPs promised to push for their cause and have government recruit more midwives and lessen on their workload.
“I want to assure you that as MPs, we shall stand with you 100 per cent....” MP Isaac Mulindwa Ssozi representing Lugazi Municipality assured the midwives.
However, the law makers, especially the women who have ever given birth in public hospitals like Judith Akello Franca, the woman MP for Agago District faulted the midwives for abusing mothers and also not attending to them well.
To that effect, the law makers promised to push for their cause in exchange of handling expectant mothers in a humane way and also stop insulting them during labour.