- In Amudati district, Mothers are still delivering from hands of traditional birth attendants
- Government imposed ban on TBAs in 2010
Uganda government has been asked to adequately invest in the Amudat district health systems for effective implementation of the ban it imposed on Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA’s) in 2010.
Speaking during the inter generational dialogue in Amudat district , Acheng Esther, working with Amudati district health office in charge of Mothers and Children's Health noted that Amudat consists of 11 sub counties but has only two health facilities.
She explained that due to the fewer health centers , some of pregnant mothers have continued to deliver from TBA’s which is dangerous as this may result in spread of diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis due to lack of protective gears by these TBAs.
In 2010, the government banned the practice of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), but did little to improve modern maternal health services in rural areas of Uganda.
‘’Out of 11 sub counties, we have seven health center ii out of the 44 parishes, we have two health center iii, we have the hospital but it is private not for profit health center under the Church of Uganda and we have a health center iv but not functional, that’s Karita health center, our theatre is not yet functional so the traditional birth attendants take the advantage of these gaps that we having in the district’’ Aceng said.
According to her, the district also having only 35% of staffing level yet the ministry of health recommends at least 65%.
‘’ One time I had a meeting with midwives and asked them how many mothers they think we lose in the community, the midwives just told me that we are receiving children like at five months for immunizations or for any other treatment and when you ask where is the mother of the baby they just say the mother died and you find that it is grandmothers who is taking care of the baby, one was reported from Cheputapoyo health center ii and another one from Kalita health center iv last year, this year they have not yet given me any report about that.’’ She added.
Aceng suspects that the mothers of these babies lost lives during the process of giving birth from traditional birth attendants.
"I encourage the midwives if they get such a scenario of a baby being brought for immunization or for any other healthcare services without a mother they should report immediately". Aceng added.
She noted that the most challenge is that it’s very hard to get such information from the village health teams in Amudat, they hide it. ‘
’What we have discovered the Pokot community is very secretive, they don’t release information very first. Like a case in Loroo subcounty, some time back I remember a VHT took a concern and came in one of the health facility and reported that they saw a mother pouring blood from the homestead, a another person took concern and when they entered into the house they found a mother giving birth in hands of Traditional birth attendant, with a lot of bleeding, they mobilized a motorcycle that brought a mother to the health facility, unfortunely the mother died after reaching to the health facility’’. Aceng noted.
Hellen Chepochepkai a an expectant mother in Loyep Parish Amudat District who was among the participants admitted that among reasons why some expectant mothers resort to go to TBAs is journey they have to walk to find the health facility.
"We fear risking walking that far because we may end up delivering on the way"she said.
According to her, the small distance they would walk to find the nearest health facility is between 5 - 11 KM.
Ikwakol Susan the Psychosocial Support Officer working with Action Aid International Uganda –AAIU urged government to ensure safety of mothers in this region through trickling down health services into the communities adding that the move won’t only save pregnant mothers but the entire community.
The Inter generational dialogue was organized by ActionAid International Uganda in line with implementing the 9th UNFPA country Program in Karamoja sub regions.
In Karamoja, the project is implemented in Amudat District aimed at eliminating FGM and provision of integrated gender-based violence services in the district.
The programmes are geared towards nurturing progressive social norm change specifically in the Campaign to End child marriages and teenage pregnancies in Amudat with the support of key community influencers such as cultural and religious leaders through community dialogues with boys, men, women and girls.
The dialogues covered communities of Loroo, Kongorok, Abiliyep, Losidok and Lokales with objectives of enhancing inter-generational relationship between men and boys, and women, and girls, that are supportive of adolescent gender and SRHR and provide a platform for women and girls to voice and challenge child marriages as a violation of their rights.