Sebei women turn to traditional birth attendants over lack of transport

Some desperate pregnant women in Kapchorwa, Kween and Bukwo districts are seeking services of outlawed traditional birth attendants (TBAs) due to lack of transport, Daily Monitor has learnt.

This follows President Museveni’s directive on restricting movement of people as one of the measures aimed at controlling the spread of coronavirus.

Instead, the President authorised several categories of the population, including expectant women, to seek travel permits from the Resident District Commissioners (RDCs).

However, the district leaders fear that some expectant women, with complications, risk losing their lives at the hands of unqualified traditional birth attendants.

Mr Collins Satya, the Bukwo District health officer, told Daily Monitor yesterday that the number of women delivering from the hospitals had reduced because many are giving birth from their villages.

“The percentage of pregnant women delivering in health facilities had stood at 40 per cent but has reduced to about 30 per cent because majority of these women have to trek long distances to access health centres in order to access maternity services,” Mr Satya said.

He said the district has registered some cases of women with complications seeking services of TBAs.

“The district has recorded such cases where women have developed complications with the help of traditional birth attendants. The TBAs try to help these women to deliver but at times fail and end up coming to the hospital with severe complications, which is risky,” Mr Satya said.

His Kween counterpart, Mr Godfrey Chemos, said they had so far rescued three women who got complications after they sought services of TBAs. “We responded quickly and rescued the three women. They are now receiving treatment,” he said.

“The district has no ambulance so we are using pick-ups as an alternative,” he added.
However, Mr Chemos said all facilities are open and in case of emergency, there are some cars on standby, adding that most of the health facilities have no staff houses.

“The district is faced with shortage of staff houses for the health workers but the district plans to construct some staff houses in the next financial year. Most of the health workers lack transport and accommodation,” he said.

The district has one health centre IV, 14 health centre IIs and nine health centre IIIs.
Mr Chemos advised the health workers to stay or sleep at the health facilities.

“All health workers are supposed to relocate to the facility. But we have a provision for those on duty in order to minimise transmission of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

Mr Dennis Balwaniregha, the Kween RDC, said he had directed all sub-county senior assistant secretaries to give permits to expectant women.

He said at least 41 cases of suspected coronavirus are under institutional quarantine and self isolation.

Mr Balwaniregha also said the district had run out of fuel and appealed to authorities to intervene.

“We have only three functional vehicles with no ambulance,” he said.
Ms Emma Rose Cherukut, the Kapchorwa RDC, said all district vehicles had been recalled to respond to all emergencies but the biggest challenge is just a gap in information.

“The district has recalled all district cars which will be in the command of the DHOs (district health officers) so that wherever there are emergencies, these women can be helped,” he said.

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