Home child delivery raises concerns

Despite efforts to mobilise and facilitate pregnant mothers to deliver at hospital, the number of those giving birth at home is increasing in Muhanga District, officials have said.
A mother breast feeding. Muhanga District is wary of cases of mothers giving birth from home. The New Times/ File.
A mother breast feeding. Muhanga District is wary of cases of mothers giving birth from home. The New Times/ File.

Despite efforts to mobilise and facilitate pregnant mothers to deliver at hospital, the number of those giving birth at home is increasing in Muhanga District, officials have said.

Statistics from the district health department indicate that between July 2012 and June 2013, Muhanga registered 96 cases of mothers who delivered from home.

This is higher than the previous year which had seen only about 60 cases.

Many of the cases were registered in areas around Muhanga town, according to Saustene Mutoniwase Kamana, the in charge of health affairs in the district.

Nyamabuye, the district’s urbane sector, led with 25 cases, followed by Rugendabari with 20 cases.

“The increase is due to teenage pregnancies and bad attitude of some mothers who have not yet understood the importance of delivering at hospital,” Kamana told The New Times last week. “Some other pregnant [single] women don’t seek antenatal care as they want to conceal the pregnancies.”

Delivering from home is a health hazard as it may result into the death of the mother or the newborn as well as exposing them to various infections, Kamana warned as he read out a report on the issue.

The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with health partners, has set up a national mother and child healthcare plan, which requires all pregnant women to give birth in a community health centre or a hospital.

Health posts were put in place to decentralise healthcare and reduce maternal and child mortality rate. 

Nevertheless, cultural and traditional beliefs remain the big hindrance as some expectant mothers refuse to give birth at hospital, preferring only traditional birth methods, officials said. 

Family Planning

To respond to the problem, Kamana said they plan to increase awareness campaigns and work hand-in-hand with community health workers to address the challenge. 

The Ministry of Health set up a compulsory session of check up for a couple before they get married. The session will help in educating couples about mother and child health.

Meanwhile, Muhanga has registered a significant increase of families that use modern family planning methods, with statistics reaching for the first time 54.3 per cent of the district’s total population.

According to Kamana, the statistics indicate that the district is on track as far as family planning is concerned.

“The improvement is a result of strong mobilisation campaigns to encourage people to use contraceptive methods,” Kamana said.

The government has for long committed itself to reduce maternal mortality in order to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goal.

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