TORORO. Expectant women admitted to Tororo main hospital have resorted to delivering on the floor on mats due to a shortage of beds in the maternity ward.
“We come with our own mats to deliver because we are told the beds are not enough but we cannot blame the midwives because they try doing everything possible to deliver us safely. They are also constrained,” Ms Jane Omongi, a resident of Western Division in Tororo Municipality, said on Tuesday.
Ms Joan Ochieng, another expectant woman, asked government to equip the maternity ward with beds and other essentials.
“Government should equip the maternity wing to protect our dignity as mothers, especially when we are delivering,” she said.
Ms Grace Atim, the officer-in- charge of the maternity ward, told Daily Monitor, that the labour suite has only six worn-out beds.
She said about 18 women deliver daily on average and more than 400 in a month.
“This is challenging and sometimes we are forced to [help women] deliver from the floor, which is unhygienic but we have no option,” Ms Atim said.
“Government should refurbish the maternity ward to attract mothers to deliver from this health facility,” she added.
The State Minister for Health in-charge of General Duties, Ms Sarah Opendi, said the beds in the maternity ward were enough.
“The maternity wing has six beds and all are functional. People should know that women do not deliver at the same time,” Ms Opendi said.
A 2017 Sauti wa Wanachi survey by Twaweza, a non-governmental organisation, indicates that 59 per cent of Ugandans think poor health facilities top the country’s problems followed by high cost of living (38 per cent) and unemployment (33 per cent).
Ms Judith Isuka, a midwife, said they are unable to give mothers proper care due to the sorry state of the ward.
“Due to shortage of beds, some women in labour are compelled to sit on benches or lie on the floor as they wait for some of their colleagues to be discharged before they are given a bed,” she said, adding that sometimes they are forced to discharge mothers shortly after delivery.
“It is not recommended because this puts their lives at risk of developing other health complications,” Ms Isuka said.
Mr Walter Oryekwun, the hospital administrator, said the bed capacity had been planned in accordance with the then small population, but it has tripled.
“Currently, the facility serves expectant mothers from all the neighbouring districts and part of Western Kenya,” he said.
Mr John Francis Olwenyi, the district vice chairperson, said the hospital needs renovation.
Ms Samali Sabano Epiat, the assistant chief administrative officer, said the hospital also has few staff.
Mr Fredrick Epiat, the chairperson of Rock Classic Health Club, recently organised a marathon to raise money for new beds at the health facility.