This festive season, a group of companies have come together to appreciate and lift morale to staff providing maternal health care services by donating various items worth UGX 45 million to Kawempe Referral Hospital in Kampala.
According to the 2016 Uganda Demographic Health Survey (UDHS), Uganda like many other low-income countries continues to grapple with high maternal deaths, currently running at 336 per 100,000 live births. This has necessitated the need for additional specialized medical facilities like Kawempe Hospital, which was operationalised as a Regional Referral Hospital in 2019 to decongest the Mulago National Referral Hospital.
Kawempe Hospital has been grappling with high patient numbers as it oversees 1000 mothers from across the country weekly with a capacity of only 200 beds. It recorded the highest number of maternal deaths among the country’s 21 hospitals (excluding Mulago and Kiruddu National Referral Hospitals), according to the Annual Health Sector Performance Report 2019/2020.
To recognize and reward the efforts of the hospital’s Neo-natal and Maternal staff, the private sector pooled resources that will see some 450 health workers receive essential household goods and items. These private sector players include the MTN Foundation, Tasco Industries, Stanbic Bank, Uganda Breweries Ltd., HarissInternational (RIHAM), Century Bottling Company, Crown Beverages, Nice House of Plastics, Kakira Sugar, Bidco, Mandela Millers, ATC, AZAM, Afrokai and others.
Speaking at the handover, Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health said, “Uganda has made significant improvements towards maternal healthcare with constant emphasis placed on investment in maternity care and neonatal specialized treatment.”
She further stated that these efforts are aimed at ensuring that women have access to quality and advanced healthcare services.
“We would like to appreciate all the private companies that have continuously supported the healthcare sector especially the nurses and midwives. It is our responsibility as Ugandans to ensure that all our health frontline workers are taken care of,” she added.
Ms. Anne Juuko, the Stanbic Bank Chief Executive said, “All life starts at birth and the life of every mother counts. That is why Stanbic Bank has joined with other private companies to help combat the issues affecting maternal health in Uganda today.”
The donation of essential items to healthcare staff is the first of a two-pronged approach aimed at providing critical support to healthcare facilities to help address the challenges affecting their operations.
“We have started a campaign under the theme ‘Every Mother Counts’, in which we intend to ensure that government hospitals have proper lifesaving equipment, individual mothers receive proper care during their pregnancy period and ensure that doctors, midwives and nurses are appreciated, comfortable and enjoy delivering quality services to these mothers,” Ms. Juuko added.
The campaign will kick off with Kawempe Hospital being the biggest maternal referral hospital and expand to tackle other issues affecting the healthcare sector.