AMUDAT – The Government has been asked to adequately invest in Amudat district health systems if it’s to effectively implement the ban it imposed on Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs)
In 2010, the government banned the practice of TBAs but did little to improve modern maternal health services in rural areas of Uganda.
Speaking at an Intergenerational Dialogue held in the Amudat district, Ms. Esther Acheng, working with the Amudati District Health Office in charge of Mothers and Children’s Health noted that due to failure to improve modern health services, some pregnant mothers in the northeast district of Amudat have continued to deliver through TBAs.
Acheng explained that Amudat consists of 11 sub-counties but with only two health facilities, a development she said continues to push pregnant mothers to resort to TBAs since they are always available in communities.
“Out of 11 sub-counties, we have seven health centers II out of the 44 parishes, we have two health centers III, we have the hospital but it is a 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,” Aceng said.
She explained the continuous delivery from TBAs by mothers puts the region at stake as it may result in the spread of diseases including HIV and Hepatitis due to lack of protective gear.
She added that the district health centers also suffer from understaffing.
“We have only 35% of staffing level yet the Ministry of Health recommends at least 65%. ‘’ Acheng stated.
Hellen Chepochepkai, an expectant mother in Loyep Parish, Amudat District who was among the participants, admitted that among the reasons why some expectant mothers resort to TBAs is the long journey to access government health facilities.
“We fear risking walking that far because we may end up delivering on the way, the small distance we would walk to find the nearest health facility is between 5 – 11 KM,” Chepochepkai said
Susan Ikwakol, the Psychosocial Support Officer working with Action Aid International Uganda asked the government to ensure the safety of mothers in this region by trickling down health services into the communities. She added that the move won’t only save pregnant mothers but the entire community.
The Intergenerational 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 providing 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 inter-generational dialogues this week covered communities of Loroo, Kongorok, Abiliyep, Losidok, and Lokales with objectives of enhancing inter-generational relationships between men, boys, women, and girls, that are supportive of adolescent gender and SRHR and providing a platform for women and girls to voice and challenge child marriages as a violation of their rights.