Uganda: Bou Revamped Maternal Health Unit Excites Expectant Mothers

14 October 2021

Health workers at Omel Health Centre II in Gulu District have said the number of expectant mothers seeking maternal health services has increased in less than a week.

The health workers say this is due to the completion of the multi-million refurbishment works on the maternal ward and outpatient department at the facility.

The works were undertaken by Bank of Uganda (BoU) and on October 8, officials from the Central Bank converged at the facility to hand over the completed works to district authorities and the health unit management.

BoU also installed a new rainwater harvesting system, delivery beds as well as other medical equipment and supplies to enhance services at the facility.

Ms Jane Anyang, the officer-in-charge of Omel Health Centre II, said the facelift has offered a new meaning to the quality of services offered at the facility.

"At least 10 mothers can now be comfortably be catered for in the newly renovated premises. It is my call that the mothers should maximally utilise the refurbished facility since modern equipment have also been availed," Ms Anyang said in an interview on Tuesday.

She said before the facelift, they only accommodated two mothers at a time.

Ms Anyang added that the rainwater harvesting system was a timely intervention, given that "when mothers come to the health centre during the dry season, they have to trek 2km to reach the nearest water source."

The facility currently serves a community of about 1,500, according to Mr Kenneth Komakech, the acting district health officer.

Mr Komakech applauded BOU for the facelift saying: "This is a great milestone in terms of improving the quality of maternal and child healthcare and welfare of the community. The district still has challenges of funding to meet the standard needs of these facilities across the district."

"We thank Bank of Uganda for holding our hand and deepening decentralisation. This place is quite remote and distant from other health service delivery points. That is why we picked on Omel as the location for refurbishment," he added.

Meanwhile, Gulu District has written to the Health ministry seeking to have the facility upgraded to a health centre III.

Mr Stephen Odong Latek, the Gulu Resident District Commissioner, said: "Because Omel has since been transformed into a sub-county, the health centre will be upgraded into a health centre III. We have already communicated to the ministry to that effect."

During the handover ceremony, the Bank of Uganda secretary, Ms Susan Kanyemiwa, said other equipment donated were a manual suction machine, a non-electric steriliser autoclave, delivery instrument sets, infrared thermometer (temperature guns), and pulse oximeters, among others.

"BoU contribution to the renovation of these facilities where we have branches is in line with our mandate under our corporate social responsibility initiative. Similar projects are underway in Fort Portal, Masaka, Kabale, Jinja, and Lira [districts]."

In his address read by Ms Kanyemiwa, BoU Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile expressed optimism that the upgraded facility would serve the community better.

"It is pertinent that we get involved with the social needs of the communities and do what we can to ensure that the population we are impacting is not just financially stable, but healthy too, this is because, for businesses to thrive, the individuals must be healthy first," he said.

He noted that with the extension and renovation of the maternity ward at the facility, mothers will be able to give birth in a proper environment with appropriate medical equipment.

"Furthermore, with the installed systems for rainwater harvest, we will see increased access to and use of safe water, improved sanitation and personal and environment hygiene practices amongst mothers and children within the community," he added.

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