Legislators on the Committee on Health on an oversight visit came to the aid of an expectant mother and helped her deliver a baby at Kikuube Health Centre IV.
The MPs who visited the health centre on Friday and found no health workers, took charge of the situation and saved the lives of expectant mothers. Two women were due for delivery, while one had had a baby without the help of a midwife or health worker at the facility.
“I am stranded here since yesterday because I was asked by one of the staff to pay sh20,000 before I am discharged; I come from Kiziranfumbi but I do not have transport to go back home,” Winnie Kamuhirwa told the MPs.
During the inspection exercise by the MPs at around 4:00pm, one of the expectant mothers, Night Scovia, suddenly developed labour pains and she dragged herself to the labour suite.
Realising that there was no one to help the expectant mother, Bundibugyo Woman MP, Hon Bebona Babungi with training in midwifery and nursing decided to go into the labour suite and offer support.
“Where are the gloves and cotton wool; the woman is already pushing, find them,” Bebona asked fellow MPs and parliament staff who were close by.
Bebona was supported by Dr. Micheal Bukenya (Bukuya County) a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, and Dr. Sam Lyomoki (Workers MP), a general medical practitioner and Butaleja Woman MP Milly Mugeni.
Bebona later broke the news to the rest of the MPs on the Committee who were waiting outside the labour suite.
“Scovia has delivered a baby boy weighing over three kilograms,” Bebona told other legislators.
“This is my fourth baby; I am lucky this one has survived. My third born died while I was delivering at home,” Scovia said.
The Committee chairperson, Dr Bukenya placed a call to the In Charge of the health centre who was not in the district at the time.
“Hello, where are you?…You are in Kampala! What are you doing in Kampala? You go to attend to a conference and leave no one in charge of the facility! “Bukenya was heard speaking on phone.
Dr. Gerald Asaba, the assistant administrator of the health centre appeared and began making calls to his staff to return but most of them did not pick his calls.
“Why do you put all the blame on me who is present instead of finding out the cause of staff absenteeism,” Asaba lamented to the charged MPs.
The MPs were disappointed by the filthy state of the centre and proposed to close it, but instead resolved to summon the Hoima District Health Officer, Chief Administrative Officer and the In charge, Maternity wards of Hoima and Kikuube Health facility to appear before Parliament to clarify on the anomaly.
“The challenge might not be about salaries, but the mindset and administration of health workers. As government, we have started programmes on how to orient the mindset of workers not to only focus on salaries but on how to change. Health workers do a lot of work, but in most health facilities, there are no machines. We have to acknowledge that some health facilities are non-functional due to funding limitations,” Lyomoki said.
When the MPs checked different rooms at the facility, they discovered medicine which had been taken off the shelves, and later sold to patients instead.
“When we come for check-ups, health workers only prescribe medicine and ask us to buy from either within the health centre or outside,” Kamuherwe said.
Earlier in the day, while at Hoima Regional Referral Hospital, MPs were informed that the referral system was non-functional.
The Hospital Administrator, Stephenson Agamba, attributed this to poor levels of health service delivery, extortion by staff, poor administration and mismanagement of facility resources in village health centres leading to most patients flocking Hoima Regional Referral Hospital.
“This situation has led to congestion in Hoima Referral Hospital with a catchment area of Kibaale, Kiboga, Masindi, Kikuube and with some patients coming from Kyangwali Refugee Settlement and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Agamba.