Saturday, August 23, 2014

Marking 500 Days to MDGs Deadline: Citizens Reflect on Accountability Work for Improving Maternal Health

Compiled by Senfuka Samuel with Citizen Journalists Rose Nalugo and  Kaddu William

Kaddu William a Citizen Journalist trained by WRA
Many Civil Society groups do a lot of work but  fail to report back to the stakeholders involved in the initiatives due to weak accountability mechanisms. It's vital to plan and integrate accountability mechanisms in all people-centred initiatives. To be accountable to its stakeholders, White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda members in Mityana convened a meeting on 22nd August 2014 to share successes, challenges and lessons learnt from Act Now To Save Mothers campaign implementation. The campaign that was started in October 2013 in the district focuses on pushing Government to fulfill its commitment of providing C-section and blood transfusion services (comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care) at health centres IV and basic emergency obstetric and newborn care in all health centres by 2015 . The meeting was attended by district political leaders, District Health Team members, community members, health workers among others.

Sr Esther Kalule speaking to stakeholders at Enro Hotel
Mityana District residents were stricken by sad news of losing ten (10) women in childbirth between January &August 2014. This was revealed by Mityana District Principal Nursing Officer Sr. Esther Kalule at the meeting.  "It's sad to reveal to you that we have lost 10 women between January and August 2014 at the district hospital. Majority of them died due to delays at home, at health centres, poor emergency transport means and by the time they reached hospital they could not be saved." Kalule said. Sr Kalule a midwife called on to White Ribbon Alliance to speed and scale up community social accountability so that linkages among community, health workers and leaders  are strengthened to save lives. "This meeting to give feedback has been an eye opener and a challenge to all of us. I did not know that Government had finally increased our salary and by what percentage but through this feedback meeting am able to get the information," Sr Kalule expressed. According to Sr. Kalule Mityana District Hospital alone delivers an average of 400 women per month of which an average of 100 deliver by cesarean section.

DHO Dr Lwassa making a presentation on district health budget at Enro hotel
Mityana District Health Officer Dr Lwassa in his presentation of the budget for financial year 2014/15 indicated an increment of wages for health workers aimed at motivation & retention. "Our wage bill has increased from shs 3.4 billion in 2013/14 to 5.3 billion in 2014/15. We have also allocated shs 166,000,000 million to improve on staff accommodation which is anticipated to reduce on staff absenteeism." He added

Medicines Management Supervisor Mr Bukule presenting on medicines&supplies
"We have made great progress since the medicines meeting convened by White Ribbon Alliance in February 2014. We have ensured that life-saving medicines& health supplies are adequately planned for in this FY 2014/15. The remaining challenge is for our In-charges to make timely orders but also National Medical Stores to honor& supply what we request for," District Medicines Management Supervisor. A        budget of Shs 1.2 billion was allocated to the district to procure medicines and health supplies.

Mr. Lubega Israel District Vice Chairperson speaking at stakeholders review meeting
"On behalf of the District leadership, I pledge  our support and continued partnership  with White Ribbon Alliance in improving women's health. We are ready to work together and the community members to ensure that funds allocated to deliver maternal health services are well utilized," District Vice Chairperson committed

Group Discussion led by Chairperson Health Unit Management Committee Naama HC III
Senfuka Samuel giving feedback to stakeholders on national budget proposals 
Group led by Sr Kalule Principal Nursing Officer