Uganda’s Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) had remained high for 15 years, with no significant decline 435 deaths per 100,000 live births. This Maternal Mortality Ratio translates to about 6,000 women dying every year due to pregnancy related causes. This is because while a significant proportion of maternal deaths occur in the health facilities, there are over 62% of pregnant women delivering without skilled care either by themselves or in the hands of unskilled workers. When the women I was expecting my fourth child and I obediently visited my doctor for regular Anti Natal Care checks. I had no complains at all. On this particular day, I started my labour pains and took a taxi to the hospital to deliver my baby. This is the biggest hospital in the country. My labour progressed well.
But to my surprise the nurses who were supposed to be checking on me at night were also sleeping despite the fact that I kept calling for their assistance. By morning I had not delivered but instead the labour pains where not progressing. My doctor (a prominent gynecologist in the city) had not even come to check on my despite the fact that she knew that her patient was in labour.
I remember a nurse coming to check on me and in panic administered ‘epitosin’ to me. This is to fasten the progress of labor. Indeed I delivered. But I straight away asked the nurse why the baby did not cry. She answered, that the baby was too weak and that they were taking it to the emergency room. In deed I believed so. At this moment I asked the nurse if I could do tubal legation since I had achieved the number of children I desired.
I demanded to see the baby after about 2-3 hours then a young female doctor broke the sad news to me that my baby was dead. It was a very trying moment for me…… At this moment my doctor appeared and was not ashamed to ask me ‘What happened?’ I just could not respond this kind of question.
It’s is not for the sake of it that women are asking governments to look into maternal and child health issues. I have been is such an experience. Two years later I was blessed with twin boys ( I thank god for this miracle babies). But my experience in the health facility tells us why very many mothers in Uganda (about 62%) still prefer to deliver at home in the hands of traditional birth attendants.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to eMagazine: Maternal Health .