Moroto- A section of mothers in Moroto District, Karamoja sub-region have shunned giving birth at Moroto Regional Referral Hospital citing rampant mortality rates at the facility.
Desperate mothers say they have now resorted to traditional birth attendants (TBAs) for help, claiming that services at the hospital are not up to standard.
Ms Grace Lemukol, one of the residents, told Daily Monitor last week that they lost their colleague Sarah Chelain, who passed on with her baby at the hospital.
Ms Lemukol said most mothers currently fear delivering from Moroto hospital because of unexplained death of mothers especially during labour.
“As mothers, we believe it is better to deliver at the hands of the traditional birth attendants than going to Moroto hospital where someone is not sure of her life,” she added.
Another mother, Kellementina Nangiro, claimed that three babies and two mothers have died at the hospital in less than two months under unclear circumstances.
Daily Monitor also understands that the treasurer for North Division, Moroto Municipality, Kerren Kisike and her child passed on at the same facility. Reports indicate that the mother’s death was caused by excessive bleeding.
Ms Phiona Namuya, also a resident, is among the few lucky mothers whose child’s life was saved after she was rushed to Matany Missionary Hospital in Napak District.
Mr Samuel Lokut, a resident in the area said: “Moroto Hospital needs thorough investigations because the situation right now is all about workers getting their salaries than delivering services to the people.”
Lokut asked government to intervene and carry out a general inquiry into the rampant deaths of expectant mothers and their children, saying it could be as a result of negligence.
However, one of the nurses who spoke to Daily Monitor on condition of anonymity said the hospital faces challenges of staff shortage adding that there are few midwives who work both during the day and night.
Both Sr Christine Azikuru, the in charge of the maternity ward, and the hospital principal administrator, Mr Geoffrey Mawa, separately confirmed the death of mothers and babies but blamed it on mothers who delay to go for antenatal services.
“The life of a pregnant woman is very delicate because any small sickness can cause a big problem. They are supposed to visit the hospital in case of any emergency but this is not the case with our mothers in Karamoja. When they fall sick, they go for herbal medication and when by the time they come to the hospital, it is too late to save a life,” Mr Mawa said.
Mr Mawa also revealed that mothers shunning the facility are teenagers who get pregnant and fear being asked to name their husbands.
In 2015 government with support from World Bank, injected Shs25 billion in the facility and upgraded it.
The hospital got a new block which houses outpatient departments that can accommodate up to 500 patients.