Mukono expectant mothers shun hospitals over Covid-19 - My Uganda Updates

Mukono expectant mothers shun hospitals over Covid-19

Several expectant mothers in Greater Mukono are seeking services of outlawed traditional birth attendants (TBAs) due to fears of contracting Coronavirus in hospitals.
Ms Annet Nassolo, a resident of Lwanyonyi village Mukono District who delivered one week ago says she had to deliver from her house with the help of her elder sister and the traditional birth attendant after she went to Mukono General Hospital for antenatal care in June and observed that the number of Covid-19 victims was overwhelming. 

” I have been getting my antenatal care from the health facility and  early June, I went back for checkup but the  medical officers ( the nurses in the maternity ward) looked worried as they were complaining of not having enough Personal Protective Equipment, (PPEs),” Ms Nassolo Says.

She says the number of people contracting Covid-19 was too high as they would test positive and she decided to abandon the hospital although she was worried about how she would deliver without going to the hospital since she had no medical friend in the whole village.

“I started feeling labor pains on Friday evening in early July and  was only with my elder sister in the house and we decided to engage a TBA who was nearby, “she said.

She also complained of challenges of getting transport to health facilities to immunize her baby as Uganda is still under virus-induced lockdown. She said she will wait until the lockdown lifted before she visits any health facility.

Ms Aisha Mutesi, a resident of Kirangira village Mukono also delivered her baby with the help of a traditional birth attendant in  Nabaale Village Nama sub-county Mukono District in July this year.

“I used to go for antenatal care at the hospital before Covid-19 and my last time was in May this year,” Ms Mutesi said.

“Since I had not been vaccinated against the virus, I feared going back to the health facility and immediately switched to the traditional birth attendant who has been giving me some herbs to take to help myself,” she added.

Like her other colleagues, Ms Mary Nansubuga, a mother of four also says she gave birth with the help of ba traditional birth attendant in Nkonkonjeru Buikwe District.

However, Dr Geofrey Kasirye, the in charge Mukono general hospital said the facility is open to every patient as they don’t handle Covid-19 victims alone.

He urged all expectant mothers to seek antenatal care services from health facilities.

“Covid-19 patients are referred to Mulago, Naguru and Namboole hospitals, so we have space for our expectant mothers,” he said.

According to him, each sub-county has a health Centre three facility with the necessary staff ready to help the pregnant women and other patients.

“Expectant mothers and other patients should continue entrusting us. They will not contract Covid-19 if they follow the standard operation procedures,” he said.

 According to the Mukono General Hospital administrator, Mr Fred Wandeme, 20 percent of the expectant mothers are giving birth in villages.

“Before the second lockdown, the number of expectant mothers was overwhelming but it started going down in June and up to date the turn up is not as good as before,” he said.

Mr Wandeme appealed to all expectant mothers to visit health facilities for safe delivery.

“They will not contract Covid-19 as our health team is set to deliver services instead of risking their lives with traditional birth attendants,” he said

However, one of the traditional birth attendants who preferred anonymity said she has experience in helping mothers to deliver safely.

“I have been helping them for 15 years now and that’s why they keep coming to me,” she boasted.

She said sometimes women approach her as soon as they get pregnant and start using the local herbs that helps them deliver normally without any difficulties.

The law
In 2010, the government outlawed TBAs from giving services to expecting mothers, but experts say many women still go to them because of the gaps in the main healthcare system that has been worsened by Covid-19. 

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