Hospital Under Investigation After Mother Dies In Labour

3492 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
William Rugadya says his wife, Esther Atuhairwe, bled to death in the Labour Ward as he frantically called midwives who had locked themselves in their rooms.

Health workers at Hoima Referral Hospital are being investigated over the death of a mother in the labour ward.

Esther Atuhairwe, a resident of Mparo in Hoima Municipality, died in the Labour Ward at the hospital on August 31. Her husband William Rugadya reported the matter to Hoima police accusing the health workers at the hospital of neglecting his wife.

In a statement, Rugadya argues that he brought his wife to the hospital on Thursday August 29th. He says when midwives examined her they said she would give birth on Monday September 2. He explains however, that on August 31st the 36-year-old started bleeding profusely until she died.

He argues that his pleas to the midwives on duty for intervention were futile, as they locked themselves in their residences. Rugadya wants the midwives on duty that night prosecuted for neglecting his wife.

Godson Nimanya, the Hoima district criminal investigations officer, confirms receipt of the complaint, saying investigations are ongoing.

The CID officer says some hospital staff members have already been interrogated on the matter. He says once inquiries are complete the file will be forwarded to the Regional State Attorney for advise on the charges.

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Nimanya says last month he received a similar complaint. He says a husband complained that the hospital health workers were neglecting his wife in labour. He says police advised him to transfer the wife to a private clinic where he was urgently attended to.

Salim Kivejinja Muwabe, the Principal Hospital Administrator, says the hospital has been notified of the police case. He says police have also been provided the necessary information to help in its investigations.

Commenting on claims that neglect caused the death of both mother and baby, Muwabe said death is natural. He says the mother’s death should not only be limited to neglect as claimed.

This is not the first time health officials are being accused of neglecting mothers in labour. Early this year Police summoned Masaka Regional Referral Hospital administrators to explain circumstances under which a pregnant woman and her baby died in the hospital.  
Joyce Bagyerize, a resident of Sembabule district, died together with her baby in one of the hospital labour wards, after failing to get the necessary assistance from mid-wives on March 10th. This happened exactly one year and five days after a similar incident happened at Rubaga Hospital in Kampala. Judith Nansubuga, a nursery school teacher from Bweya, Kajjansi in Wakiso district, lost her baby before she died at the hospital. Family members blamed the hospital staff, including Dr Jumba Mukasa of neglect.
In June this year, Dr Jumba appeared before the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Council over the case.
Similar incidences have been reported in Mbale and Kumi hospitals.
Up to 16 mothers die every day while giving birth in Uganda, even though the World Health Organisation (WHO) says the country’s maternal deaths have been reducing at an annual rate of 5.1% in the past 10 years.

In a report titled “Count down to 2015: Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival” that was released in May in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, WHO said Uganda was still behind schedule in the reduction of maternal deaths which by 2010, stood at 310 per 100,000 births. This is more than twice the 150 target set by the UN Millennium Development Goals to be realized by 2015.
The report says Uganda's maternal mortality ratio has been reducing from 600 in 1990 to 530 in 2000. The figure had further gone down to 310 by the 2010.