Joyce Moriku, the state minister for Primary Health Care says because of being brought up in homes where parents fight, many midwives don't know how to tenderly handle patients.
Speaking to journalists at Kabwohe Health Centre III, Moriku revealed that during her visits to communities, many mothers complained of being mishandled by birth attendants. She observed that this bad behaviour was not because of bad training but due to the fact that the girls had experienced first hand the effects of domestic violence.
"They grow up knowing that the atmosphere at home is tense and that nobody loves them. How do you expect them to give love when no one at home has shown them love?" asked Moriku before adding:
"I call upon our families to show love so that when they grow up, they can be able to still show that love."
Further, Moriku said that although there were still challenges, midwives have greatly impacted Uganda's health sector and commended them for the great work. She observed that because of their hard work, challenges like maternal mortality rates had dropped.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), maternal mortality has reduced from 506 deaths per 100,000 live births to 336 deaths per 100,000 live births between 2001 and 2016.
Alain Sibenaler, the UNFPA country representative, also congratulated the birth attendants for their heroic and life saving work done in trying circumstances.
He said that this years theme "Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for life" could not be more pertinent because of their critical role of supporting, promoting healthy families and saving lives.
"Thanks to midwives, millions of women each year are able to exercise their right to sexual and reproductive health services, including voluntary family planning. These services help ensure wanted, healthy pregnancies and safe births," said Sibenaler.
The UNFPA country representative revealed that they would strengthen their support for midwives because too many women still lack access to proper health services. Although many could be saved, the numbers of deaths still remain high with 60,000 mothers dying year during pregnancy and childbirth.
27 per cent of newly born babies still don't live to see the second month. Sibenaler acknowledged that UNFPA had worked with the Health ministry to strengthen the National Midwifery Association and helped to enhance midwifery practise to ensure accountability. The population fund has been able to setup registration centres at all the 13 regional referral hospitals countrywide.
Per Lingarde, the ambassador of Sweden to Uganda, also vowed more support for Uganda's health sector. Since 2009, the Swedish government has been able to provide support to over 18 midwifery schools through UNFPA.
As Uganda celebrates International Midwifes Day, the sector still faces challenges like poor wages and lack of proper facilities and under staffing remains the biggest. There a 36 per cent gap in midwifery staffing with the districts in West Nile, Teso Karamoja and Bukedi regions having the biggest gap (50-60 per cent).