Nebbi mothers seek help from disbanded traditional birth attendants

What you need to know:

  • In 2010, the government banned traditional birth attendants from offering  services to expecting mothers  due to associated risks such deaths and infections among mothers.

Mothers in Nebbi District have continued to seek services of the banned traditional birth attendants (TBAs), while accusing health workers of harassing them and charging exorbitant prices.

The mothers also claim that they cannot travel long distances to health centres while in labour thus opting for TBAs. 

In 2010, the government banned TBAs from offering  services to expecting mothers  due to associated risks such deaths and infections among mothers.

However,  statistics from the health authorities indicate that  in 2020/2021  only 13 mothers delivered babies at Kalwang Health Centre while nine mothers delivered at home with help from TBAs.

Mr Phinahas Osinga, the officer-in-charge of  Kalwang Health Centre III, said in 2019, they targeted at least 28 deliveries every month but this was not met as mothers preferred TBAs

“We have had cases of mothers delivering on their way to the health facility after failing at the hands of TBAs.  Some are brought to the health facility when they are tired and with minimal chances of survival,” he said.

Ms Judith Acen, a mother, told Daily Monitor on Sunday that rural mothers are always mistreated at the health facilities and made to pay for free delivery kits. “Our mothers are delivering at home with the help of TBAs because of continued mistreatment and discriminations by the health workers. The health workers shout at us, sometimes they slap us,” Acen claimed.

Mr Osinga said Kalwang parish initially had about 22 TBAs before they were integrated into the system to escort expectant mothers to the health facility.

Ms Jeros Ayerango, 59, the chairperson of TBAs in Nebbi revealed that they stopped helping mothers deliver babies at home due to associated risks such as contracting HIV/Aids and death of both the mother and baby.

“When a mother delivers in the hand of TBAs, the delivery report is filed by the village health team members and mother and the baby are taken to a health facility for management,” she said.

However, she revealed that TBA association instituted a fine of Shs50,000 to be paid by any TBA who helps a mother to deliver at home. 

Ms Kevin Canifua, an enrolled midwife at Kalwang Health Centre III, acknowledged that most mothers prefer visiting TBAs due to continued harassment by some health workers.

“It is true that some midwives harass expectant mothers and this has made them shy away from health facilities.  But this is dangerous for both the mother and baby because the TBAs cannot handle complicated emergencies,” Ms Canifua said. 

She, however, appealed to government to strengthen maternity and reproductive health services in the communities so as to bridge the gaps.

The Nebbi District Health Officer, Dr Justine Okwairwoth, said mothers are at higher risk of losing lives  during home deliveries. 

Dr Okwairwoth said in the last financial year, they lost 14 mothers to home deliveries. 

Data from the annual health sector performance report 2019/2020 indicates that Nebbi District antenatal attendance is at 70 percent while the fourth visit by mothers is between 50-95 percent. 

This page might use cookies if your analytics vendor requires them.