According to the 2011 United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) analysis report on midwifery in Uganda, western Uganda and Karamoja have the highest number of vacant midwife positions at Health Centres II at 91% and 68% respectively. Karamoja has the highest deficit (70%) at HC III, followed by Western region at 41%.
Global shortage of midwives today stands at 350,000, of whom 112,000 are wanted in the neediest 38 countries surveyed.
"The current health system is unsupportive to midwives due to poor remuneration, poor health service infrastructure, lack of essential equipment and supplies such as gloves and drugs, high workload for few qualified staff, lack of oriented support supervision, and few opportunities for continuing professional education," the report reads.
According to a statement issued by UNFPA on Sunday, skilled midwives who are fully equipped can reduce death for close to 300,000 women each year, and ten times for infants. The statement was issued during the commemoration of international day of the midwife that was held under the theme "The World Needs Midwives Now More than Ever!"
The 2009 Midwifery Needs Assessment Study revealed that in all levels of public health facilities in Uganda, there is an estimated gap of 1,961 midwives (36%). However, a more recent study indicated that almost 1,500 midwives were needed in government health facilities by 2015.
Uganda has scaled up efforts to recognize the role of midwives in improving maternal health. More midwives today handle responsibilities previously reserved for medical doctors such as the administration of intravenous fluids, prescription of antibiotics and manual removal of the placenta.