Expectant mothers decry poor services at Masindi Hospital as midwives complain about overwhelming numbers

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Some expectant mothers and their attendants rest in the shelter at Masindi General Hospital. (Photo: Moses Andama)

It is midday and expectant mothers are still waiting to be attended to for antenatal care at Masindi General Hospital.

They have arrived at the health facility as early as 8 O’clock seeking the services at the public hospital as advised and encouraged by the Ministry of Health that they should always go for trained and qualified personnel in government health facilities.

However, on reaching there, they spend at least three hours without being worked on as midwives reportedly spend approximately 30 minutes on one client who allegedly comes and bypasses the already queuing up expectant mothers on what the midwives call “emergency cases” as the former say neglect of duty.

There comes a stranger who the women suspect to be one of the staffers at the hospital and narrate to him their tribulation. The stranger has come to the hospital on a fact finding mission after his office is awash with reports from expectant mothers complaining that they are being mistreated by the health workers.

Audio: Expectant mothers complain (Runyoro/Rutooro)

After getting the women’s version, the stranger enters the midwives’ workroom, explains to them what the expectant mothers outside are reportedly experiencing.

Little knowing that the stranger is the Masindi Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Dominic Tibasiima, and that they were being taped on the recorder, the midwives chide and tell him off as they sarcastically direct him to go and attend to the expectant mothers who have reported to him so he could ironically help them.

Audio: Tibasiima on health workers (4Rs, English mix)

One of the midwives tells the RDC how they are not machinery, complains about the low ratio of health workers to  patients and how she also deserves rest as the Presidential representative asks whether she does not get her annual leave as embedded in the constitution of the Republic of Uganda.

Audio: Health worker confronts expectant mothers (4Rs, English mix)

An unidentified midwife moves out to meet the expectant mothers and vows to collectively “punish” all of them that go to the hospital “at 11 O’clock seeking antenatal services for not appreciating the hectic work they do”.

Audio: Health worker directs expectant mothers to private clinics (4Rs, English)

Mr Tibasiima later shares his recordings of the Friday incident to Kazi-njema News.

When contacted, the Acting Masindi District Health Officer (DHO), Patrick Baguma said he was not in position to speak to our reporter since he was travelling, promising to handle the matter.

On the same day, a mother in her 20s gave birth at the hospital gate after a gateman denied her entry for not wearing a facemask.

The woman’s attendant who did not want to be identified by Kazi-njema News reporter said that they first went to Bwijanga Health Centre 4 but did not find any health workers present to help her.

This coerced them to turn around and go to Masindi General Hospital where they were stopped at the gate because the expectant mother who was at the time suffering from birth pangs did not have a facemask to guard against the spread of Covid-19.

When contacted, the Masindi Hospital Medical Superintendent, Felix Twinomugisha, said the incident was a community matter adding that the expectant mother delayed to report to the health facility to be delivered.

Earlier the previous day on Thursday, a woman also gave birth under the mango tree at the same health establishment after the midwives allegedly failed to attend to her for failing to raise an undisclosed amount of money that they demanded from her to receive midwifery services.

Expectant mothers and women always incessantly accuse midwives of mistreatment by insulting them using obscene language, something that does not augur with them, finally sending them to the outlawed Traditional Birth Attendants whose services sometimes end up in mortality.

Last week, a TBA was arrested for causing the death of a mother she tried to deliver in Kagadi district after several other deaths were counted on her among other fellow TBAs.

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