Health Centers Warned on Underage Mothers

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In short
Jenny Rose Okilangole, the in-charge of maternal and child health in Gulu district, explains that women who are above 35 years tend to over-bleed while children who are under 18 years have undeveloped pelvic joints, a condition that complicates delivery.

Underage mothers and those above 35 years have been warned against seeking delivery at health centers.

Jenny Rose Okilangole, the in-charge of maternal and child health in Gulu district, warns that these two categories belong to the risky group.

Okilangole explains that the underage girls who are referred as ‘grand-multi para and those who are above 35 years or prime gravid cannot be handled by any health center apart from a hospital.

She says that health centers right from One to Four are not equipped to handle the group because they lack theatres and equipments. She explains that women who have produced more than five children tend to over-bleed while children who are under 18 years have undeveloped pelvic joints, a condition that complicates delivery.

She advises the in-charge of health units to ensure that such expectant mothers are referred to district hospitals for special attention to avoid the risk of loss of lives.

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Okilangole advises that underage mothers and those above 35 years should only go to health units for antenatal care but not delivery. She says expectant mothers should report to the hospital as soon as they get symptoms of labor which include abnormal stomach pain and blood.

Beatrice Komakech, a midwife at Bardege Health Center in the outskirts of Gulu town, says that they are forced to turn away underage mothers or those above 35 years who turn up to deliver at the health unit. Komakech, however, says sometimes the expectant mothers who belong to the risky group turn up at the health unit when the baby is almost coming out.
 
According to the 2012 Countdown to 2015 Demographic Health report released in June this year, Uganda’s maternal mortality ratio dropped to 310 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010, from 435 deaths in 2006. This translates to 4,300 maternal deaths every year, down from 6,000.

The report was compiled by academicians and professions from several international organisations under The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health in Washington.

The organisations include Johns Hopkins University, the Aga Khan University, the University of Pelotas in Brazil, Harvard University, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, UN Fund for Population Activities, Family Care International and Save the Children.

A United Nations report titled trends in maternal mortality 1990-2010, however, notes that while substantial progress has been achieved in almost all regions, many countries particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa will fail to reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of reducing maternal deaths by 75 percent from 1990-2015.

Ninety-nine percent of Maternal Deaths occur in developing countries most of which could have been prevented with proven interventions.

 

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