MOH Calls for Non-Clinical Interventions for Mothers

The Ministry of Health has urged private health facilities to consider wellness facilities for the non-medical needs of mothers and babies that can improve maternal health outcomes.

Dr Richard Mugahi, the Assistant Commissioner in Charge of Reproductive and Child Health says that because they are overwhelmed by numbers in free government facilities, they have had to forego some aspects of maternal care which can be provided by private providers to those that are able to pay for them.

Mugahi says expectant mothers need to be prepared by experts right from when they are planning to get pregnant if they are getting the best experience out of delivery. He says, often, mothers have concerns such as how they can safely exercise during pregnancy or even enjoy wellness therapies such as steam baths and saunas.

He was speaking at the launch of a special centre for mothers and babies at the International Hospital Kampala (IHK) on Wednesday.

The Commissioner says that the Ministry is now moving into offering holistic women’s care having established through research that the majority of the women in Uganda are getting pregnant when they are unaware and as a result, some turn up for antenatal care or even delivery when they are anaemic affecting their own health and that of the babies they are carrying.    

However, such interventions suggested by the Ministry of Health are already recommended by the World Health Organization that certain non-clinical interventions for mothers can reduce unnecessary caesarean sections that have of late been common with many private health facilities.

One such intervention, according to the organization, is a thorough assessment of mothers before they get pregnant in addition to having childbirth training workshops, nurse-led relaxation training and psycho-education for those already pregnant.

Mugahi says the ministry is supporting private facilities with standards of how to do this but also ensuring that the facilities maintain good practices and have recommended equipment for such maternal and child care to be provided. He also adds that they close hospitals that don’t meet the standards during the inspection.

Meanwhile, the just-launched facility at IHK comprises a thirty-two-bed capacity women’s centre with general and private wards in addition to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). According to Dr Moses Tiri, the Obstetrics and Gynecology Unit Team lead, they will be offering both level one and two neonatal care, a service they expect will lower pressure on the few NICUs in Kampala and a well equiped  nursery where they will look after the prematures.

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