Uganda: New Mothers Sleep On Floor Over Shortage of Beds

Expectant and new born mothers are sleeping on the floor due to inadequate space and shortage of beds at the maternity wards of Koboko hospital.

The mothers are forced to sleep on mats in the congested corridors with their newly-born babies, posing a health threat.

Speaking to Daily Monitor, in an interview yesterday, Ms Jennifer Draru, a mother of a new-born child, said: "We came here three days back while in labour and after delivery, there was no bed for me and my baby so the nurses advised me to buy a mat and find a place in the corridors."

"It is a hard situation here at the hospital," she added.

Mr Filista Oyajiru, another mother, said she delivered on Sunday but she had to sleep on the floor with the help of her traditional gab (kitenge).

"With the night coldness, coupled with lack of mosquito nets, we risk getting malaria and pneumonia," she said.

For Ms Mary Ajiko, who has previously given birth from the health centre, the problem has persisted for many years.

"The beds are mostly kept for critical mothers in caesarean section," she said on Tuesday.

Hospital capacity

Koboko Hospital has two maternity wards with each accommodating 12 beds. According to the hospital records, the facility delivers more than 15 mothers a day and 240 per month, with a catchment population of 54,394.

Responding to the recurring conditions, senior nursing officer, Sr Recho Witro, says due to the shortage of beds, they are forced to discharge mothers early enough after delivery.

"We have serious infrastructural problems, the space is not enough. We have two wards, which are not enough. Some mothers who need more medical attention end up sleeping on the floor with their babies," she said.

Sr Witro said they are supposed to monitor such mothers for 24 hours to see if they don't develop complications, but 'this is rarely done', which exposes the to the risk of infections.

Background

During his visit to the hospital in 2018, President Museveni laid a foundation stone to construct a maternity ward in Koboko hospital. But since then, the construction has not kicked off due to lack of funds.

The district will aslo benefit from about Shs61 billion storied hospital funded by the government. The new hospital, which is in Donga Village, Ginyako Parish, Dranya Sub-county, had its works commence in March 2020 and is expected to be completed after four years.

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