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BEN MBONYE’S NAKASERO HOSPITAL ON THE SPOT AS HEALTH MINISTRY WARNS VS. RAMPANT C-SECTIONING

By Mulengera Reporters

Top officials from the Ministry of Health (including PS Dr. Diana Atwine, Minister Sarah Opendi and DGHS Dr. Henry Mwebesa) have disapprovingly spoken out about the ever-growing cases of young mothers opting for C-sectioning as a method of child birth thinking it’s ostentatious to deliver babies that way. Many young ladies consider delivering via CS to be something fashionable yet Dr. Mwebesa warns it’s associated with lots of risks and it should only be opted for on grounds that are purely medical.

CS, which Atwine maintains has lately become unnecessarily too rampant largely because hospitals encourage it because they want the money as opposed to scientific necessity, was one of the major controversial topics that caused very polarizing debate at the just-ended Annual Health Sector Review Workshop in Kampala. The MoH teams shared statistics showing the different hospitals where the CS practice is rampant largely because of desire to make money as opposed to reflecting on scientific necessity.  The statistics showed that Dr. Ben Mbonye’s elite Nakasero Hospital last year carried out the highest number of CS procedures and made significant money as a result. The Annual Health Sector performance report shows that in the FY2018/19, Mbonye’s hospital conducted 586 C-sections out of the 747 mothers that opted to deliver their babies there. Naturally these are well-off mothers with generous medical insurance packages. 586 out of 747 deliveries translates to over 70%.

Ngora NGO, a facility based in Ngora district Teso Sub Region, ranked 2nd with 61% of the mothers there delivering through CS procedures and Iganga’s New Hope Hospital equally had many cases recording 60%. The stakeholders at the review meeting were shocked to learn that the C-section cases last FY increased from FY2017/18’s 27% to 29% for the whole country. This ongoing FY2019/20 has seen the risky trend merely continuing as hospitals continue cashing in at the expense of cautioning young mothers on potential dangers. “The figures for some hospitals like Nakasero haven’t changed. Last year they were also high with a 72 percent C-section rate. This is high. But generally, the numbers are up everywhere,” Mwebesa said making participants even more shocked.
The MoH report shows that the number of C-sections increased also among the Health Center 4s where a total of 22,139 CS procedures were conducted in the FY2018/2019 alone. The previous FY2017/18 recorded the same at 17,729 in the HC 4s with Mukono Town Council HC 4 having the highest number of C-sections at 1,708 CS procedures. What is more intriguing at especially HC 4s is the fact that many of the facilities are inadequately prepared to properly conduct such procedures. For instance, Dr. Mwebesa asserts that many of the procedures were conducted without the necessary blood transfusion putting lives of delivering mothers at great risk. “At least 65 HC 4s carried out C-sections without blood transfusion which is risky because while it can be done and the results are successful, a lot can potentially go wrong leading to the death of the mother,” he explains.

When it comes to Regional Referral hospitals, the much-dreaded Nsambya (renowned for being sued regularly) had 5 in every 10 mothers (or 50%) of the mothers who went there delivering through CS followed by Mbarara RRH’ 46%. Mbale RRH ranked 3rd with 41%. Commendably, Gulu RRH had the lowest cases of CS deliveries with only 14% of the mothers delivering through the procedure.

Minister Sarah Opendi dramatized the session by wildly claiming that CS procedures are on the increase because Uganda’s contemporary mothers opt for CS because they consider it fashionable and secondly because they falsely think natural delivery causes their private parts to become enlarged. “Many young mothers fear to have natural delivery thinking that their organs will become enlarged and consequently, they go for C-section not knowing the risks associated with it,” Opendi said.  Atwine argued it was regrettable and unethical that most of the CS procedures continue to be motivated by money as opposed to scientific requirements aimed at saving life. The Nakasero hospital management, through their Communications Manager Mr. Mugisha Julius, opted not to respond preferring to get the report and study it first whereafter they will have a comprehensive response. Consensus at the sector review meeting was that unfortunately majority mothers opt for CS largely because they are oblivious of the associated dangers. Conventionally all surgical procedures have a 50% probability of succeeding or failing ending in death and CS procedure isn’t an exception.  (For comments, reach us on 0200900416 or email us at mulengera2040@gmail.com). 

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