Twenty nine percent of expectant mothers in Kigezi region give birth in their homes, according to the 2016/2017 Uganda Demographic Health Survey (UDHS) report issued by Uganda National Bureau of Statistics (UBOS). The survey sampled 20,791 households.
According to the survey, 56 percent of women give birth from public health facilities while 14 percent give birth in private health facilities. The survey also shows that the maternal mortality stands at 541 deaths per 100,000 live births in Kigezi region, far above the national ratio which stands at 336 per 100,000 live births.
George Kawase, a statistician from Uganda National Bureau of Statistics, says the number of mothers who give birth at home and maternal deaths are still high despite the presence of government facilities up to the sub county and parish levels.
Dr. Asaph Byamugisha, the Assistant Health Officer Rukungiri District concurs with the survey findings, saying the maternal mortality rate has remained high due to early marriages and long distances from villages to health facilities.
Byamugisha says that although the number of mothers giving birth in their homes is still high, he is optimistic it will reduce since government has introduced incentive to attract mothers to visit health facilities while pregnant as well as motivate them to embrace HIV testing and counseling.
Nick Muniza, the Senior Assistant Health Focal Person Kisoro District, says it is life threatening for mothers to continue giving birth at their homes.
He however, blames the high maternal mortality rates in Kigezi region to the poor road network, saying most areas are inaccessible.
Muniza says some of the mothers referred to bigger hospitals due complications sometimes die due to delays to access health facilities because of the bad roads.
Muniza also says some health workers mistreat the expectant, which makes them to shy away from health facilities.
Uditah Byonanebye, a resident of Kishekyera Village in Kyanamira Sub County in Kabale district, says she will never return to any health facility for child birth. According to Byonanebye, she gave birth in the compound of Kyanamira Health center III because there was no health worker to attend to her.
Byonanebye says she was angry to find a facility closed yet it was a working day. Charity Kyomugisha, a mother from Muko Sub County also in Rubanda district, says she was operated poorly when she delivered by cesarean section at Kabale regional referral hospital three years ago and bled for two days.
Kyomugisha says since then, she resolved to deliver from home with the help of Traditional Birth Attendants.
Macklin Ahereza another mother from Kashaasha parish in Bufundi Sub County, says she lost interest in public health facility when she was asked to leave the bed and sleep on the ground a day after giving birth at Kabale regional referral hospital two years ago.