|Dr Jacinto Amandua Commissioner Clinical Services-Ministry of Health speaking during a stakeholders' |
breakfast meeting on newborn resuscitation devices convened by WRA-Ug at Golf Course Hotel, Kampala
November 12th 2014
For Immediate Release
(Kampala) In Uganda, 106 newborns die every day due to preventable causes. Of these, 26% die on their first day of life due to failure to breathe and maintain breathing, a condition referred to as birth asphyxia. These deaths can be prevented if resuscitation devices to manage birth asphyxia are available at the health facilities and health workers know how to use them. Basic newborn resuscitation devices include an ambu bag, mask, suction bulb and training mannequin.
The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda conducted health facility of government-owned heath centers III and IV on the availability of newborn resuscitation devices in three pilot districts; Mityana, Kabale and Lira. WRA Uganda found out that none of the three districts met the minimum requirements for the resuscitation of newborns. Out of 9 health centers assessed in Lira, only 3 had the newborn resuscitation requirements. In Mityana, out of 12 health facilities assessed, only 7 had the devices and in Kabale District, 19 out of 22 health centers had the devices. This puts the lives of newborns at risk of death.
The procurement of newborn resuscitation devices by the Ministry of Health has been largely dependent on projects by donors. Health centers cannot order the devices when they need them and mainly rely on the Ministry of Health to procure the devices when there is a funded project. Without adequate newborn resuscitation services in all districts across the country, newborn survival will continue to be a nightmare.
To reduce newborn deaths, the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda recommends the following;
- The mandate for procurement of newborn resuscitation devices should be given to National Medical Stores.
- Resuscitation devices should be made vital commodities on NMS procurement list so that health centers can order them.
- Ministry of health should create a budget line for procurement of these devices.
- Government should allocate more funds for procurement and repair of the equipment.
- At least 5% of Primary Health Care funds should be allocated to maintenance of equipment.
- There should be regular training for health workers so that they have the necessary skills to use and maintain the resuscitation equipment.
Notes to editors
Within a minute of birth, a baby who is not breathing should be ventilated with a bag and mask. Although most babies breathe spontaneously at birth, up to 10 percent of newborns require some assistance to begin breathing. Only 3-6% require basic resuscitation, but the correct technique will save 4 out of 5 babies who need it. Every skilled birth attendant should be able to resuscitate a baby who is not breathing.[i]
The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda is advocating for policy change for procurement of newborn resuscitation devices. The advocacy goal is; Ministry of Health (MOH) transfers the procurement of newborn resuscitation devices from its headquarters to National Medical Stores (NMS) in the FY 2015/2016.
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