MTN Uganda, through its Corporate Social Responsibility arm, the MTN Foundation has officially handed over theMpugwe Health Center III maternity ward in Masaka after renovating and equipping it as a way of giving back to society.
The Telecom Company invested up to 20 million shillings on renovating, repainting and equipping the health facility with a water harvest system with running water, solar lighting and constructing a placenta pit.The six-bed capacity health center was also supported with 6new hospital beds, 6 mattresses, 6 blankets and 6 mosquito nets to serve the mothers and children who will use the facility.
Executed under MTN Foundation’s Access to Healthcare Initiative (AHI) project, the objective of this intervention is to improve access to quality maternal health service through establishing the minimum standards of infrastructure at a maternity ward as recommended by the Ministry of Health.
MTN’s decision to focus on maternal and child health is informed by a consultative meeting with the Ministry of Health which revealed that maternal health was the most underfunded section of health yet it is critical.
At 336 deaths per 100,000 live births, the country’s maternal mortality rate is still among the highest on the continent and in the world. Uganda’s Maternal Mortality Rate has consistently been one of the highest in the world with many women dying of pregnancy-related complications, some of which have been linked to issues such as lack of lighting among other causes.
Mr. Wim Vanhelleputte, the Chief Executive Officer, MTN Ugandasaid that MTN was so elated to be able to make a difference in the lives of the people it serves.
“Mothers deserve to give life in dignity and safety. We are pleased that we can help make a difference in our mothers’ lives,” she said.
“As a company there is no greater contribution we can give to communities, than the means to ensure the basic functional systems of their welfare are instated. We are proud to partner with the government to support its efforts in health.” Vanhelleputte said.
Mr. Vanhelleputte noted that although the foundation would have wished to give more equipment, the hospital wards are limited by bed capacity.In the bigger facilities like Kamukira hospital maternity ward in Kabale district, MTN Uganda donated 20 beds. However, some of the maternity wardssuch as Mpugwe HCIII have a small bed capacity.
While delivering the keynote speech, Mr. Herman Ssentongothanked MTN for reaching out to the people of Masaka.
“We are very thankful that we were chosen for such a good project that is going to improve the lives of our mothers and children in Masaka and the neighboring communities,” He said.
According to Dr. Abdul MugerwaKafeero, the Mpugwe Health Center III in-charge, the facility serves a catchment population of ten thousand people. The center receives an average of fifty patients on a daily basis and close to 1000 patients annually.
The Masaka District Health Officer, Dr. Stuart Musisi noted that by renovating the Mpugwe Health center, MTN Uganda is helping decongest the Masaka Regional Referral hospital through promoting health service delivery at the grassroots.
Under its Access to Healthcare Initiative (AHI) MTN Uganda Foundation has renovated over 30 hospitals around the country.
In regard to maternal health, the telecom giant renovated 8 maternity wards at Health Center III facilities in eight districts namely, Kabale, Mbarara, Hoima, Fort Portal, Gulu, Lira, Arua and Mbale districts.
Last year, MTN Foundation Uganda also allocated a total of Uganda shillings 1.33 billion part of which was collected from the 2018 MTN Kampala and Regional Marathons towards the refurbishment and equipping of theatres and labour-wards of five Health center IVs. The centers include: Muyembe HC IV in Bulambuli district, Pakwach HC IV in Pakwach, Kalangala HC IV in Kalangala, Karugutu HC IV in Ntoroko district and Kawempe Referral Hospital in Kampala.
Last year, the telecom held its sixteenth edition of the MTN Kampala Marathon. The proceeds will also be used to complement the government’s efforts in maternal health improvement.