Monday, 4 August 2014

We Need Our Maternity Ward, We Need Our Privacy: Nyakiyumbu Mothers Cry Out

Serving approximately 56 patients a day, with just 8 staff out of the required 19 staff and with one ward- maternity ward serving as general ward too, the community and especially mothers in Nyakiyumbu sub county, Kasese District could not take it anymore. Although the start of in-patient services was a community demand driven initiative at Musyenene Health Centre (HC) III in Nyakiyumbu Sub County, the initiative doesn’t  seem to be going well with the birth mothers who have to share one ward with the general patients (men, women, girls, boys and children as well). Apart from congestion in the one ward, there is no privacy for the mothers during and after labor. Apparently, the ward doubling as both maternity and general has only 15 beds but accommodates approximately 32 patients; most often children share beds while some adults sleep on the floor. 
As a result some mothers have opted for delivering from home with the help of Traditional Birth Attendants (who usually do not have the skills to handle complicated cases or offer post natal services). Petronila a mother of 5 children thinks there is no more meaning in coming to the health facility “I better stay at home with a traditional birth attendant instead of going to the Health Center to disgrace myself. How can you start putting on a maternity pad in front of men who might even be your in laws? The sub county leadership should really do something about this.” Petronilla appeals. Commenting on the situation, the HC In-Charge Mr. Charles Bwambale agrees with the mothers and calls upon the government to rescue the situation at the HC. He says, “the thought of using one ward for both maternity and general purposes scares away the mothers. Child birth is characterized by heavy pain and bleeding after birth and all these need privacy, a safe and clean environment for both the mother and the new born baby. We really need support towards the completion of the general ward as soon as possible
HC In-Charge explaining to the community members on the progress of the general ward construction. 
In the bid to address this challenge, Ndongo Anti-Poaching Association (NAPA) Neighborhood Assembly under KALI took this issue up in September 2013 and discussed it with the sub county leadership. KALI further followed up the issue with the HC administration and the sub county leadership who agreed to organize a fundraising function for the completion of the general ward.  And on 30th March 2014 a fundraising function officiated over by the Area MP Hon. Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, and attended by 327 people (156 males & 171 females) was held at Musyenene Health Centre III. 

The participants who included, community members, CSO representatives, religious and cultural leaders, political and civil servants raised a sum of shillings 17 million, while other leaders like the Kasese District LCV Chairperson Hon. Ddula Mawa pledged materials; timber and iron sheets to roof the ward.  Construction of this general ward which had stalled at window level later resumed on 18th April 2014 by Ayub a local mansion.  
Completion of the general ward is expected by March 2015. With the general ward in place, KALI and the general community are optimistic that this will improve service delivery at the HC and foster better health among the community in Nyakiyumbu Sub County.