Kagadi Traditional Birth Attendant detained over maternal deaths

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A traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) has been arrested for allegedly causing the death of an expectant mother who had been referred to the district hospital by a health centre.

Only identified as Sarah, the suspect is a resident of Rugashari Sub-county in Kagadi District.

Sarah is accused of causing the death of Jacinta Hafasimana, 28, the wife to Omuhereza Byaruhanga, the Rukiga village chairman in the same district.

Security sources say Hafasimana was rushed to Rugashari Health Centre 3 on Wednesday with labour pains but her condition demanded referral after being attended to by the health workers there.

She was eventually referred to Kagadi General Hospital. However, her husband decided
to take her to the TBA’s home for help from where she died from over bleeding while her newly born baby also died minutes later.

Some of the residents immediately tipped off Ms Lillian Ruteraho, the Kagadi Resident District Commissioner (RDC) about the incident prompting her to cause Sarah’s arrest and the consequent detention at Kagadi Police Station.

Ms Ruteraho confirmed to Kazi-njema News about Sarah’s detention adding that the same suspect is linked to the death of other six women in the past eight months.

The RDC said Sarah has been on the wanted list of the police for women who have been under investigation for illegally facilitating deliveries.

TBAs’ background

The government of Uganda banned the services of the TBAs about a decade ago citing the move as key to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates.

Despite the ban, the TBAs have up to date retained their relevance to the communities especially in rural areas due to a couple of economic factors including lack of ambulance services and poor road networks that do not facilitate urgent movements of expectant mothers to referral hospitals and costs involved that limit the majority low income earners from embracing professional medical care.

Some women have cited corruption and bribery in government health facilities as another impediment to access services that are presumed to be free of charge.

TBAs who were traditionally spread almost in every village have been offering their service for a little pay if not for free to the public.

The ban on TBA services has been partly responsible for their hesitation to make referral to professional health workers when they meet complicated cases for fear of being arrested.

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