The Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Rt.Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga has committed to use her position to influence Parliament to increase funding towards maternal health. Kadaga made the commitment during a policy makers’ meeting on 25th May at Sheraton Hotel, Kampala organised by HSA partner; HEPS-Uganda,ACHEST and Amref Uganda. The Speaker noted that the number of mothers dying as a result of pre-eclampsia is alarming and that the government should commit money such that the much needed drugs are available at all times.
“I did not know what this disease was until our collegue Grace Kaudha Magumba, the woman MP for Iganga District died while giving birth.I there want to appeal to the MPs present here to make sure that pre-eclampsia is your number one agenda when we resume house sessions. I will ensure that this is debated in parliament and more money is allocated to the fight against pre-eclampsia.”she said
Dr. Micheal Bukenya, a gynecologist who also heads the Parliamentary Health Committee urges pregnant women to beware of warning signs such as rapid weight gain, severe headaches that do not go away even with use of painkillers, dizziness, vision changes, and reduced frequency in urination.
He says even women who report to the facilities early are sometimes not helped because many health workers lack training on how to deliver some preeclampsia treatments. Pre-eclampsia remains one of the leading causes of maternal death as is thought to kill more than 75, 000 women each year in Africa.
At Kawempe, about five mothers report on a daily basis with the condition. The hospital’s clinical head Dr. Evelyn Nabunya says last year alone, the condition contributed 23.7% of the maternal deaths registered. Without giving specific figures of the deaths she said this was an increase from the 20% registered in 2016. She added that in 2017 alone, the hospital received 43,000 women for antenatal and conducted about 27,000 deliveries.
Nabunya who is a consultant gynecologist says it is preferable if the condition shows up later in pregnancy because the mother can either be induced or helped to deliver through caesarian section. But when it comes early, the outcome is usually a baby affected by complications associated with pre matures and a mother progressing into eclampsia or developing severe complications that come with it like kidney failure, stroke, and liver damage.