Men’s negligence another cause for maternal deaths in Uganda – experts

Liverpool University Professor in Clinical Pharmacology in Global Health, Dr Wei Katrina. (Image: Gad Asaba)

Maternal mortality in Uganda has been attributed to some irresponsible men who tend to run away from their expectant wives leaving them helplessly without any assistance to see them through that period.

The Liverpool University Professor in Clinical Pharmacology in Global Health, Dr Wei Katrina, says such an inattention has resulted in some expectant mothers dying giving birth in villages due to lack of financial, nutritional and psychological support from men who she says are highly needed during that period for the good health and life of the mother and her unborn baby.

She says it is crucial for men to break culture and assist their pregnant wives in domestic chores besides accompanying them to healthcare facilities for antenatal care services.

Audio: Katrina on men (English)

The professor also calls upon health workers not to use technical jargon while communicating to their clients for proper understanding of their health and medications prescribed to them.

Audio: Katrina on technical jargon (English)

Ms Margaret Birungi, a Village Health Team (VHT) member from West Division, Hoima city says financial constraints make some men shy away from their expectant wives since it becomes hard for them to fend for the latter right from conception, delivery to breastfeeding.

“Tough economic times have led some men to neglect their wives as the former cannot afford to buy necessities for prenatal period. Once neglected, some women end up losing their lives because they can’t afford to keep themselves up alone,” she says.

However, Ms Birungi says VHTs in her area of jurisdiction have tried to use the little knowledge they have to solve such problems.

Mr Julius Kunihira, a VHT from Busiisi cell in West Division, attributes some maternal deaths to lack of disclosure between married couples especially in a discordant couple when one realises another’s positive sero status yet they had been hiding it. He says the scenario results in lack with the expectant mother sometimes losing her life.

Ms Robinah Tibakanya, an HIV/AIDS activist, urges VHTs to assist married couples’ lives through interventions like changing men’s mindsets to learn to help their expecting spouses socially, mentally and financially for a healthy community.

Mr William Baluku, a social worker cum home visitor at Infectious Disease Institute (IDI) counsels that neutralising misunderstandings is a surer way of safeguarding expectant mothers against possible deaths and protecting the family from ruin by harmonising it before any fights that can result in deadliness.

Audio: Baluku on violence (English)

Ms Adrine Twimukye, a behavioural scientist at IDI, calls for male involvement in HIV management so that husbands can support and help their either pregnant or breastfeeding wives amidst being HIV positive.

Audio: Twimukye on men (English)

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