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Luuka District Hospital finally gets Maternity Ward

Giving birth, though painful, is supposed to be a joyful process, a process of pride that reflects the dignity of a woman and puts her aside as the mother of all humanity. But this is not always the case as mothers have across the country been forced into giving birth under terrible and inhumane conditions that degrade all the dignity that women are naturally entitled to given their life giving role in society. Such has been the plight of women in Luuka District who have been subjected to giving birth under trees and in dingy squalid and dirty rooms when it rains because there has been no semblance a premise in the form of a maternity ward where women can be taken to give birth.

It all started in 2012 when fire gutted the maternity ward at Kiyunga Health Center leaving the health facility without a maternity ward. This left the facility bereft of options of how to handle the cases of pregnant mothers that came to the hospital and what followed is a harrowing tale of just how far the challenges of the decentralized system of health system management in Uganda can become synonymous with decentralisation of health rights violations. Luuka District it should be noted is one of the newer districts in Uganda and its facilities haven’t been upgraded to reflect its District status so Kiyunga Health Center is operationally a District hospital for Luuka District without the capacity to serve as a district Hospital. Therefore when the maternity ward was burnt down leaving the district without a maternity ward it became a case of stealing from the church mouse.

Concerned by the on-going human rights violations at the health facility, CEHURD took special interest in the matter and led a fact finding mission to establish the state of affairs at the facility which confirmed the worst of our fears that indeed mothers were giving birth under trees, on verandas and in dingy rooms because the maternity ward had been burnt. Unfortunately the Luuka District Local Government which is mandated with administration of health facilities and provision of medical services at that level did nothing to rectify this situation because apparently protecting the dignity of mothers giving birth in the district is not one of the financial priorities of the District.

CEHURD begun a process of engagement of the district authorities to prioritise the renovation and restoration of the maternity ward at the hospital to the extent of issuing a notice of intention against the district authorities to sue for the continuing violations of the rights of women in the district. Despite the slow reaction to the needs of the women in Luuka District, CEHURD is pleased to confirm that our efforts have paid off and following a resolution by the District Local Council Meeting held in December 2014, funds have been specifically committed to the reconstruction of the maternity ward at Kiyunga Health Center in Luuka District.

In a recent meeting with the Chief Administrative Officer Luuka District, the Chairman LC3 Kiyunga, the District Secretary for Health and CEHURD representatives, the CAO confirmed that the District has committed funds for the reconstruction of the Maternity Ward and showed CEHURD representatives a copy of a Memorandum of Understanding entered between the district and the UPDF Engineering Brigade for the reconstruction of the ward. We appreciate the Luuka District Local government for finally seeing sense in the situation and avoiding litigation to prioritise the rights of mothers in the district. CEHURD will continue to monitor the developments for the expeditious reconstruction of the ward to immediately rectify the on-going violations of the maternal health rights at the health facility.

By James Zeere

Why drag the case for this long? Judge questions State Attorney

By Nakibuuka Noor Musisi and Vivian Nakaliika.


Today the 12th of November 2014, CEHURD together with Michael Mubangizi and Jennifer Musimenta appeared before her Lordship, Justice Lydia Mugambe to address her on the case against Mulago National referral hospital and Attorney General (Civil suit No. 212 of 2014)

Read More Why drag the case for this long? Judge questions State Attorney

Justice Kabiito breaches new frontier in Human Rights Litigation

Until 16th July 2014, it was unheard of in Uganda’s human rights jurisprudence for a judicial officer in Uganda to visit to location of an alleged human rights violation to contextualize for himself what the circumstances in which the violation is alleged to have occurred. Such was the occasion at Nakaseke District hospital at 10.00am when Hon. Benjamin Kabiito visited the Hospital to ascertain the circumstances under which Nanteza Irene died after failing to access emergency obstetric care she needed to give birth to her baby.

Read More Justice Kabiito breaches new frontier in Human Rights Litigation

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

Mother delivers triplets by her own

By Tom Gwebayanga

Nakaibale with her triplets at home in Bukwaya-Inuula, Bugyenda district

Annet Nakaibale, a mother of eight, knew she was carrying more than one baby, but did not expect triplets. As fate would have it, labour pains struck when she was by herself in a grass-thatched hut.

The 35-year-old narrowly survived death. She recently successfully delivered triplets without anyone’s help.

The resident of Bukwaya-Inuula in Bugaya subcounty, Buyende district, says the labour pains began at about 7:50am when all her children had gone to school and the neighbours to their gardens.

“The pains started abruptly but I did not have the energy to walk to my neighbours, who were tending to their gardens,” she says.

Nakaibale delivered the first child, but hardly had she reached for the razor blade to cut the umbilical cord, when the second baby came. “After cutting the second cord, I thought it was over, but fresh pains erupted and the third baby came.”

As Nakaibale lay in a pool of blood wondering what to do, she heard someone walking past her hut and she made an alarm.

“Help, I have delivered triplets, but I am desperate,” Medi Kabolu, the passerby, narrates. “The triplets were crying helplessly, lying bare on the ground.” He did not know what to do, so he also raised an alarm. Sympathisers gathered around her and mobilised a motorcycle that transported her to Bugaya Health Centre III, 15km away.

The babies’ weight had not been established, but they were healthy, according to medical workers at the health centre. Unfortunately, Nakaibale’s husband, David Kaduku, left four months ago to burn charcoal in Kiboga Forest, so he was not at home to welcome the bundles of joy.

“I am happy that I survived because I would have bled to death. I thank my fellow residents for their support” Nakaibale, says.

She says four months ago, the attendants of a nearby drug shop had examined Nakaibale and revealed that she was carrying more than one baby, but did not divulge more details.

On why she did not consult the experts, Nakaibale says she could not afford sh10,000 to hire a boda boda to Bugaya Health Centre III.

Challenge of health facilities in Bugaya

Charles Musasizi, the district health inspector for Buyende, says Inuula parish comprises 14 villages with only one health facility, Bugaya Health Centre III.

He adds most maternal deaths result from failure of mothers to make it to the health centre because they cannot afford the transport costs. Musasizi says there is also shortage of medical workers. The people manning the drug shops usually double as midwives.

According to Dr. Thomas Suubi of Suubi Medical Clinic-Mateete, Sembabule district, an expectant mother must be put under surveillance to minimise pre-and post-delivery complications.

Recently, Sarah Naigaga, a resident of Buseete, Buyende district in eastern Uganda, also delivered a baby in Buyende livestock market.  Such occurrences are common, since the Melinda Gates Foundation that used to transport pregnant mothers in Buyende and Pallisa districts phased out the project in 2010.

Understanding the risks involved

Any pregnancy is challenging, but for a multiple pregnancy, the experience is more demanding and the risks, high

If you are expecting more than one child, you are at a greater risk of pre-eclampsia, a life-threatening condition that occurs during pregnancy and/or immediately after giving birth.

The condition is characterised by a rapid rise in blood pressure that can lead to seizures, stroke, multiple organ failure and death of the mother and/or baby. One, therefore, has to understand and appropriately respond to the warning signs of preeclampsia before the condition gets out of hand.

Multiple pregnancies are high risk and an obstetrician must watch the pregnancy closely because it can result in pre-term birth. A pre-term birth is when a baby arrives before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

The further on into your pregnancy you are, the more likely it is that your baby will do well. This is because his organs will be more mature, his lungs will be better prepared for breathing and he will have more strength for sucking and feeding.

You may face physical complications from the added strain of carrying additional weight for a longer period of time, and you might feel some extra psychological stress over wondering how you will feed and care the babies

Sometimes one baby will get more than its share of oxygen and nutrition at the expense of the other. This puts both in grave danger, as the overload on the larger twin can be just as lethal as the deprivation to the smaller one.

Regular ultrasounds are, therefore, needed to make sure the babies are growing at roughly the same rate.

Delivery poses dangers as well. Breech babies are frequent. This is where the baby’s buttocks and/or feet will be positioned. This makes C-section the safest way to deliver.