RUBANDA -The Rubanda District officers responsible for health facilities, NGOs, and other stakeholders have shed light on the obstacles that hinder mothers' access to antenatal care services throughout the district.
This revelation took place during an advocacy and empowerment dialogue organized by Local Sustainable Communities (LOSCO) and the Center for Health, Human Rights, and Development (CEHURD), held at Volcano Hotel in Rubanda District.
The entire Rubanda District is equipped with only two ultrasound scanners one at Muko HC IV in Rubanda East and the other at Muko HC IV in Rubanda West. Despite the Ministry of Health recommending a minimum of two ultrasound scans for each expectant mother during pregnancy, those residing in Ruhiija Sub County must bear the cost of traveling to Muko HC IV, where the nearest ultrasound scanner is available.
"A mother from Ruhiija Sub County needs at least Shs. 60,000 to travel to Muko HC IV for the necessary ultrasound scan," revealed Dr. Godfrey Bampabwiire, the head of Muko HC IV.
Adding to the challenges, the district is served by only one ambulance, failing to meet the transportation needs of the numerous women requiring access to referral health facilities.
"Rubanda District, with its 39 facilities, possesses only one ambulance. Considering that the referral points are spread within a 40 Km radius, the implications are evident when the ambulance is dispatched to one location, and an urgent need arises elsewhere, such as Muko HC IV," explained Dr. Bampabwiire.
CUE IN… DR BAMPABWIIRE….ON SCANS……..ENG//
According to a survey conducted by Kabale District Orphans and Vulnerable Children Living with HIV/AIDS (KADOLHA), an NGO operating within Batwa communities, Batwa mothers experience the tragic loss of at least two infants before and after pregnancy within the first year. "Batwa mothers reveal that they avoid seeking antenatal care due to discrimination faced at healthcare facilities. They recount instances where midwives treated them disrespectfully, accusing them of lacking hygiene," shared Amos Tugumisirize, Executive Director of KADOLHA.
CUE IN AMOS KADOLHA….ON BATWA……RR//
Moreover, an assortment of women availed themselves of the opportunity to voice grievances concerning mistreatment at health facilities. Some lamented the neglect they encountered due to seeking medical attention without the presence of their husbands. Others spoke of intimidation they faced for reporting issues to higher-ranking officials within the facilities.
CUE IN WOMEN….ON ANTENATAL CARE…..RR//
Elaborating on the rationale behind selecting Rubanda for this critical dialogue, the Executive Director of Local Sustainable Solutions emphasized the district's underrepresentation in national-level discussions pertaining to sexual reproductive health. Despite its manifold challenges, Rubanda District has remained on the fringes of attention, a situation that this dialogue aimed to rectify.
CUE IN ALBERT LOSCO…..ON RUBANDA…..RR/ENG//
In essence, the advocacy and empowerment dialogue shed light on the pressing issues stifling access to antenatal care services for expectant mothers in Rubanda District. Through collaboration, awareness, and concerted efforts, the stakeholders aspire to pave the way for positive change and improved maternal healthcare within the district.