Kitgum Mothers, Medics Defend Midwife Cruelty

5317 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
Medics and mothers giving birth at Catholic St. Joseph's Hospital in Kitgum district have defended midwives and nurses for actions considered rude and cruel to expectant mothers during childbirth. They say the arrogance is only aimed at saving the unborn child during maternal labour and appealed to public to disregard claims of hostility to expectant mothers.

Mothers giving birth at Catholic St. Joseph's Hospital in Kitgum district have defended midwives and nurses for actions considered rude and cruel to expectant mothers during childbirth.
Medical workers at the faith based hospital have also supported the arguments of the mothers saying it is only aimed at saving lives at crucial moments.
The mothers sampled randomly in two maternity wards at St. Joseph's Hospital in Kitgum district on Wednesday say the health workers are very hospitable, friendly and specially trained to handle people in distress. 
Monica Ayero is among the women who defend the mid wives. She says uncooperative women are slapped by mid wives to save the life of the unborn baby during the crucial third stage of labour.
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Monica says to prevent midwife and mothers losing babies after nine months, the mid wives act tough.
Although they are in different wards, Hellen Aditi Lembe, a mother of two children agrees with Ayero. She says mid wives have strong reasons to be rude to mothers who defy their instructions.
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Anena Jennifer Acaye, the in charge of Maternity Ward at St. Joseph's Hospital says many strategies have been employed to achieve maternal and new born child health.
She names comforting mothers with a pat on their backs among some of the encouragements mid wives have adopted to eliminate mortality in labour wards.
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Losing an unborn baby is the last wish of every mother and a mid-wife. Similarly, no trained medical worker would want to see a mother lose her life while giving life to another human being.
However, there are various reasons why many families go through the pains of losing either the new birth or its mother.
According to the latest official figures from a 2006 health survey, 16 Ugandan women a day die in childbirth, and 76 newborns in every 1,000 do not reach the age of one. The Ministry of Health says a lot has since been achieved in reducing the figure.
It says the leading direct causes of these deaths are hemorrhage (26 percent), sepsis (22 percent), obstructed labour (13 percent), unsafe abortion (8 percent) and hypertensive disorders in pregnancy (6 percent), according to the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Uganda.
In addition, rudeness of midwives and nurses is blamed for discouraging mothers from giving birth in health facilities. Many people say, the emotional mistreatment is what drive many mothers to giving birth in the hands of untrained traditional birth attendants.
To prevent the country losing children before, during and after labour, Robert Ochola, the St. Joseph's hospital Administrator says the ministry of health considers a rude midwife among the best human resources in the country.
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According to Anena tough mid wives are encouraged to make peace with their clients after the child birth to eliminate fears in other mothers waiting to give birth.
Ochola explained that making peace shortly afterward is crucial in preventing complaints arising out of bringing new lives to the world.
He was however quick to warn that extreme aggression to expectant mothers before the final actual childbirth is criminal and his facility does not hesitate to prosecute such a midwives.
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According to Ochola, several measures including disciplinary actions are in place to rid labour wards of rudeness from health workers. He says because of these strategies, the hospital only lost three mothers who were either referred late or made self-referrals in the process of childbirth in 2013.


About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.