NYAGATARE-The number of women who seek antenatal care at Tabagwe Health Centre in Nyagatare district increased from 67 percent to 89.2 percent, health officials say.
Jean Damascene Rurangirwa, the head of Tabagwe Health Centre, attributed the upward trend to incentives normally awarded to mothers who fulfil the mandatory times of antenatal care before delivery.
According to Rurangirwa, the incentives were put in place after cases of maternal deaths increased in the sector.
“Many women in the sector were reluctant to attend antenatal care.
That is why we came up with the idea of rewarding those who started visiting hospitals,” he said.
The health official said that since the programme’s inception last year, the cases of maternal mortality have slightly reduced.
He, however, added the number of mothers who give birth at the health facility is still low.
“The number stands at 37.8 percent. This is a big challenge that requires us a lot of effort
to mobilise women in the sector,” he said.
Women who attend antenatal care and give birth under medical watch are rewarded with clothes, umbrellas and baby kits, among others.
“This is a motivation to attract more parents to follow what others do,” said a health official at the health centre.
Delphine Babushyekere, a mother from Kamate Cell in Tabagwe appreciates the importance of antenatal care.
“On my first delivery, I did not visit the hospital. I almost died due to health complications, but the second and third births, I visited doctors several times and gave birth comfortably,” she said.
Apart from Tabagwe health centre, other health centres in the district have adopted the practice to award mothers who give birth from health facilities.