Kasese- Kasese District authorities have banned the operations of traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in a move to fight increasing deaths of pregnant mothers.
Kasese District vice chairman Tadeo Muhindo said TBAs have failed to adhere to recommended sanitary standards, exposing mothers and new-born babies to diseases which have led to high maternal and infant mortality in the district.
Speaking at a workshop for district leaders on maternal and child health, organised by Save the Children at Rwenzori International Hotel last week, Mr Muhindo said TBAs found helping pregnant women to deliver will be arrested.
“Traditional birth attendants should stop accommodating women in their houses. They should instead refer them to health facilities where they will be assisted by trained and skilled midwives,” said Mr Muhindo.
Kasese District secretary for social services John Businge said efforts by the district to educate expectant mothers on the need to visit trained medical personnel for ante-natal services have not yielded much, adding that cases of child birth complications have increased.
“By the time most of these women are rushed to the nearby health centre for attention, it is always late and most of them end up dying along the way,” he said.
Ms Stella Baruga, the assistant district health officer in charge of maternal health, said the district has lost a big number of women at the hands of TBAs.
She said the ban on TBAs will help women move to health facilities when their time for delivery nears because some of them have been discouraged by TBA’s.
“Some TBAs discourage women from going to health facilities, so we have asked them to stop aiding the women during deliveries. Let them refer all of them to health facilities,” said Ms Baruga.
She said it will be illegal, for any TBA to perform any delivery and that those who defy the ban will face the law.
Mr Mbusa Musa, the project coordinator for the maternal and child health at Save the Children in Uganda, said mortality rate in the district stands at 29 per 1,000 live births.
Mr Mbusa said the district faces several challenges such as poor access to healthcare services, frequent shortages of drugs and limited knowledge and skills of the available health service providers.
He added that TBAs don’t have skills to deliver expectant mothers who are HIV-positive, and therefore risk exposing their babies to HIV infection.
However, the ban has left many women divided with most of them claiming that even the health facilities are not well equipped while others are understaffed.