5 die daily as Jinja hospital runs out of blood

blood-transfusionWritten by TREVOR S BALEKE, An acute shortage of blood has hit Jinja Regional referral hospital. There is no single blood unit available to give patients in critical condition, hospital managers say.

The Observer has established that on average, 12 patients are referred to Mulago hospital daily for blood transfusions. Dr Micheal Osinde, the hospital director, said in an interview last Thursday that at least five children die every day in the children’s ward due to the blood shortage. The casualty ward and pregnant mothers are also affected.

“This is the worst the blood shortage there has ever been. And because this is a regional referral hospital, we receive patients from about 10 districts,” he said.

According to him, it costs $80 to process one unit of blood. Jinja regional referral hospital needs at least 70 units of blood in a crisis-free week.

“We do not just get blood from a donor and transfuse it into the body of a recipient. It has to be processed first,” he said.

“We don’t have a single pint of blood for all the groups in the laboratory,” he said.

Asked what could have caused the shortage, Dr Osinde pinned it on funding gaps in the ministry. He said the Uganda Blood Transfusion Service had run short of money to collect, process and store blood by last December.
Source: http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=25522:5-die-daily-as-jinja-hospital-runs-out-of-blood&catid=34:news&Itemid=114


High Court starts hearing a Maternal Health Case; Civil Suit No.111 of 2012

By Serunjogi Francis and Guma Jeremiah

Yesterday April 11, 2013, the High court of Uganda started hearing a maternal health case filed by the Center for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) & others against Nakaseke District Local Government and the Attorney General.

On 12th April 2012 the Center for health, Human rights and Development (CEHURD) dragged Nakaseke District Local government to court challenging the way Nanteza Irene died in labour pain despite crying for almost 10 hours without any medical attention accorded to her.

This case follows a landmark maternal health case that was filed by CEHURD in the Constitutional court of Uganda in March 2011 (Constitutional Petition No.16 of 2011). The justices in that case advised the petitioners to seek other remedies in other courts of law.

By the time of this ruling (June 2012) CEHURD had already filed this case and had never been fixed for hearing. It is on record that 16 women die in Uganda daily and the more cases are delayed in courts the more women that die.

CEHURD is thus calling upon the High court to give a declaratory judgment that the acts, omissions and behaviors of the health workers and the local government towards  Nanteza Irene (deceased) leading to her death violated her rights to life, to health, freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment and equality and that of her children.

“It’s the justices of the court that can end the preventable maternal deaths by according justice where it’s due. We cannot continue to see the injustices of women dying from preventable maternal deaths. We call upon the government to recruit, allocate and motivate health workers as well as supply necessary basic maternal health commodities in the health facilities as part of their Human rights obligations” Said Mulumba Moses, Executive Director of CEHURD.

The leading causes of maternal death in Uganda include massive shortage of trained, motivated and equitably deployed professional health workers to attend to births, lack of access to emergency obstetric care, lack of access to quality antenatal care, and lack of access to family planning services, hemorrhage, sepsis and above all lack of a political will to priotize the right to health..

Court will next hear the case on 17th May 2013 as counsel for the plaintiffs sought an adjournment to file a joint scheduling memorandum since the defendants had not signed the one that was prepared and hence wasn’t filed in court on time. His Lordship Justice

Benjamin Kabiito the judge handling the matter advised the parties to do a scheduling and file the same in court by 30th April 2013 such that on 17th May they come ready to proceed as he will not entertain unnecessary adjournments.

For more information, contact: Noor Nakibuuka, CEHURD, +256782496681

Mulago launches multi-billion Women’s hospital project

By Francis Kagolo

State minister for Primary Health Care Sarah Opendi hands over the artistic impression of the proposed hospital to Islamic Development Bank Engineer Zohair Kashgary, January 9th Jan 2013. PHOTO/Maria Wamala

KAMPALA – The health ministry has launched a project to construct a 320-bed capacity women’s hospital aimed at decongesting Mulago and curbing maternal deaths in the country.

The $34.14m (about sh91.5b) state-of-the-art national maternal and neonatal referral centre is to be constructed at Mulago hospital complex to handle high-risk maternity services.

The centre will also handle cancers of the female reproductive system including ovarian cancer, uterine, endometrial, cervical, and vulvar cancer.

The hospital, funded mainly through a loan from the Islamic Development Bank, will also offer family planning services among others. It will also have a 60-bed unit for the private wing.

Launching the project on Wednesday, State health minister Sarah Opendi was optimistic that the hospital would go a long way in improving maternal health once completed in 2016.

It is estimated that about 16 women die every day from giving birth in Uganda, bringing the number to over 580 a year.

At Mulago, between 80 and 100 mothers give birth on the floor daily due to congestion.

Mulago was built in 1962 when Uganda had only eight million people, but the population has since increased to over 34 million without significant expansion at the national referral hospital.

“This means that wards which used to accommodate eight patients, take 34 patients today,” said Mulago hospital director Dr. Dr. Byarugaba Baterana.

“Expectant mothers must continue delivering on the floor until we complete this new structure
Source: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/638791-mulago-launches-multi-billion-women-s-hospital-project.html

CEHURD holds regional meeting on litigating the right to health

Participants form groups to discuss thematic areas of work that can be undertaken within the region

The 3 day regional meeting that CEHURD convened at Lake Victoria Serena hotel from 28th -30th November 2012 was attended to by lawyers, judges, registrars and Commissioners from Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa
The workshop was aimed at deepening the understanding of approaches towards litigating the right to health, overcoming social and legal barriers and the contribution such litigation can make to human rights promotion in the region;
It further aimed at developing alliances and networks to work on litigating the right to health in the region; as well as sharing practical experiences of litigating the right to health, including implementation of judgments.
It was hoped that at the end of the workshop we would explore possibilities for increasing provision of pro bono services in the area of health rights, as well as strategic litigation

It was a successful meeting which saw lawyers and commissioners on board discussing health rights related cases as well as hearing from the judges what they expect of us when we go to court.
From the meeting, thematic areas of work were identified including  carrying out regional litigation on the right to health.

At the national level, CEHURD is writing an allegation letter to the Special Rapporteur on the right to health seeking his intervention into the Anti Homosexuality Bill that the speaker of parliament promised to pass as a christmas Gift. We are contending that if the Bill is passed into law, serious health rights violations of the rights of LGBTI people will suffice.

Preventing Maternal Mortality and complications

By Dr. Cory Couillard:
Annually, 16 million girls aged between 15 and 19 give birth each year.  Ninety percent of the births in developing countries occur in adolescent marriages according to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics. In many countries, the risk of maternal death is twice as high for adolescent mothers.

Motherhood is often a fulfilling experience but sadly it is commonly associated with severe health consequences without proper care, education and support.  Conditions that are related to pregnancy and childbirth are the second cause of death among women of reproductive age.

Severe bleeding, infections, unsafe abortion and high blood pressure conditions are four of the main killers that cause 70 percent of deaths.  In all, over 358,000 women die per year and most of these are preventable.

20 million pregnancy complications

Maternal health simply refers to the overall health of a woman during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. More than 136 million women give birth per year and about 20 million of them experience pregnancy-related complications. Maternal health or the lack of it is a major public health crisis.

It is important to know that the bleeding after a delivery can kill even a healthy woman if unattended.  The risk of death is directly related to the access and availability of proper healthcare services.  Generally, access to services is related to the income of the family or individual.  Less income generally equates to less access to care and greater risk of death or complication.

Women who are attended by trained healthcare professionals are rarer than you think.  Nearly half of all childbirths in developing countries are not attended to properly.  Attended childbirths still pose the risk of complications such as infections if cleanliness and hygiene standards are not strictly adhered to.

Unsafe abortion & infant death
There are over 18 million unsafe abortions that are carried out every year that result in over 46,000 deaths. Half of these abortions are considered unsafe.

WHO defines unsafe abortion as a “procedure for terminating a pregnancy that is performed by an individual lacking the necessary skills, or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards, or both.”

It is estimated that three-quarters of newborn deaths could be prevented if women were adequately nourished and received appropriate medical care from early pregnancy through the post-delivery period.

Currently, about four million infants die within their first month. Improved access to medical care and maternal nutrition would significantly reduce stillbirths, which now number 3.3 million worldwide.

Many women in developing countries give birth before the age of 18. Many of these women have been married off as children and lack the education, money, and status to get adequate healthcare services.

Complications run rampant in adolescent pregnancies.  Children having children will face substantial risk from having small pelvises that can obstruct labor resulting in long labor times, birth injuries and an increased risk of still born babies.

Education highest priority

Experts at the World Health Organization point to education as the primary way of addressing maternal health in many developing countries. Education can address the root causes — poverty, low status of females and lack of access to healthcare.

The education of girls and young women does a lot more than just improving the lives of mothers; it protects children’s health, facilitates healthy families, creates less of a burden on healthcare delivery systems and overall improves society.

Dr. Cory Couillard is an international healthcare speaker and columnist for numerous newspapers, magazines, websites and publications throughout the world. He works in collaboration with the World Health Organization’s goals of disease prevention and global healthcare education. Views do not necessarily reflect endorsement.

Email: drcorycouillard@gmail.com
Facebook: Cory Couillard
Twitter: Cory_Couillard

Source: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/636891-preventing-maternal-mortality-and-complications.html