Having been frustrated by the few available health centres in Amudat District, some desperate expectant mothers have turned to the neighbouring Kenyan hospitals in search of quality health services.
Mothers have to trek long distances to access the few health centres in Amudat that are said to be in a sorry state and without the necessary drugs.
The entire district with a population of 112,000, has six health centre IIs and with no major referral hospital, leaving vulnerable expectant mothers to trek a distance of about 70km to deliver in the neighbouring Kenya.
The north eastern Uganda district that borders Moroto District in the North and Kenya to the East, was carved out of Nakapiripirit District in 2010.
Government arguments behind the granting of a district status are partly to extend services nearer to the people. Seven years after it was granted a district status, Amudat has no major referral hospital but a major health centre owned by Church of Uganda.
Mr Francis Kiyonga, the Amudat District chairperson, observed that majority pregnant women lack access to quality antenatal care services.
Others have lost their lives during labour as a result of delayed medical attention.
He said although the district has six health centre IIs, they lack the required personnel to handle the overwhelming number of patients.
Some health centres, for instance, have only one health worker performing the duties of a midwife, clinical officer as well as making referrals.
The government policy to have a health centre II in every 25 kilometres is yet to be realised in the district.
“We lag behind on most of the services like education, health and we are appealing to government to come to our rescue,” he said.
Mr Kiyonga said the health officials from Kacheliba and Alale hospitals in West Pokot, Kenya have already made a verbal complaint to the district over the overwhelming numbers of mothers getting treatment at their facilities.
“The leadership is concerned about the high numbers of Amudat patients that are flooding the health centres in Kenya,” he said.
Dr Patrick Sagati, the Amudat District health director, confirmed most mothers deliver in Kenya as a result of the long distances involved in accessing health facilities in the district.
And during rainy season, the roads become impassable.
Dr Sagati is the only doctor government has deployed to work in Amudat District.
Mr Joseph Logir, a resident of Karita village in Karita Sub-county, said almost every mother in the sub-county delivers at Kacheliba Hospital.
Mr Martine Lodumoi, the LC1 chairperson of Siroi village in Karita Sub-county, said many expectant mothers who cannot afford to hire motorcycles to take them to deliver in Kacheliba end up delivering on the way with the help of traditional birth attendants.
“Just last week, two mothers delivered at the border of Kenya and Uganda as they were walking to Kacheliba but thank God they were helped by traditional birth attendants who were attending to their gardens,” he said.
Ms Sarah Cheruto, 30, an expectant mother has to part with Shs110,000 for a motor cycle to deliver her to the nearest health centre which is a distance of 80km characterised by bad roads.
“We mothers in Amudat District, especially Karita Sub-county feel neglected as if we are not Ugandans because we are not getting most of the services in Uganda apart from Kenya,” she said.
Ms Josephine Chepto said: “We have noticed that Amudat is the last district in getting government services but it’s the first district to receive voting materials which I don’t understand,” she said.