For many rural pregnant women, being in the third trimester and closer to one’s delivery date often comes with thoughts of trepidation due to the state of health centres and maternity units, in particular.
Not only is it a long walk to the nearest health facility for most, women in rural areas pay a higher price to see their bundles of joy, which is also not always guaranteed, because many health facilities upcountry are poorly equipped for maternal health or it is non-existent.
In 2016, an unlikely benefactor, Bank of Uganda, noticed the plight of pregnant women and as the central bank celebrated its golden jubilee, management and staff joined stakeholders and well-wishers to give back to the communities by revamping maternal and child health.
Starting with the BoU@50 charity walk that Bank Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile flagged off in 2016, the bank raised money to refurbish several maternity and postnatal wards, starting with the ones in the districts where the bank has branches.
According to Bank Secretary Susan W. Kanyemibwa, Bank of Uganda has in the last five years funded the renovation of maternity wards at Bwizibwera Health Centre IV in Mbarara district, Ayivuni Health Centre III in Arua, Nakaloke Health Centre III in Mbale and Omel Health Centre II in Gulu district.
Last Friday, the central bank handed over a refurbished Hamurwa Health Centre IV to Rubanda district leadership, after extending and renovating the maternity ward and postnatal ward, as well as constructing a covered walkway from the theatre to the maternity ward.
Hamurwa serves a population of 7,763 people. The bank also donated medical equipment and supplies, as well as hand washing equipment, soap and sanitiser.
“Every woman has a right to give birth in a well-equipped health facility,” Deputy Governor Michael Atingi-Ego, said in Rubanda as he handed over the facility.
“The Human Capital Development Programme under the National Development Plan aims to increase productivity of the population for increased competitiveness and better quality of life for all through improved child and maternal outcomes as well as increased life expectancy. Therefore, the BoU’s investment into Hamurwa Health Centre IV is in line with our mandate.”
Henry Ariganyira Musasizi, the Rubanda East MP, that doubles as minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development (General Duties), led the district officials at the function to receive the facility.
At Rubanda, BoU also donated a digital ultrasonic diagnostic imaging machine and five litres of ultrasound gel, an oxygen concentrator and complete blood count machine, a water purifier and a neonatal resuscitator kit, among other items. Ministry of Health data indicates that Uganda has 6,937 health facilities.