Mbalé – Before 2018, the Busiu IV health center in Mbale district received around 60 women giving birth in this facility every month.
The health center, which at the time had very limited beds, tried unsuccessfully to house the mothers for at least 24 hours for medical examination.
“Initially, we told the mother to stay 24 hours, but when there was no room to sleep, she would go away,” says Dr Maumbe Bernard, head of the Busiu IV health center.
The early departure of mothers from the health center was one of the reasons why some of the newborns died soon after. About 3 babies died in a three month period.
Today, infant mortality at the health center is almost extinct. According to Dr Maumbe, the health center now goes three months without recording a death.
These results are the culmination of the combined efforts of the hospital and MTN Uganda.
On the evening of 2018, MTN donated beds and blankets to the health center, which has since enabled more pregnant women to seek maternal health services.
The beds allowed the women to stay longer, which allowed for a medical examination of the mother and baby.
“Before, we would have about 60 deliveries and now in a month, an average of 120 mothers give birth here, but some months peak at 200. Prenatal visits are around 80 to 100,” he explains, adding that the efforts of hospitals to provide drugs also played a key role in this result.
The telecommunications company also renovated the maternity ward, which Dr Maumbe said helped encourage mothers to come to the health center to seek appropriate prenatal medical services.
In fact, the impact is far-reaching as the Busiu IV health center has now become a referral station for women in the neighboring towns of Butaleja and Manafwa.
Kyenjojo Hospital tells the same story. The hospital received 30 MTN beds and 30 mattresses which were installed in the general ward. Charles Tusiime, the Kyenjojo district health worker, says the beds have been very helpful in providing treatment to residents of the western district.
“The impact that patients may not know is great. One bed can be used by so many people. In a month you find that one bed served around 5-10 people with a bed occupancy of around 3 days, ”he said.
As he recounts, in the past the hospital was sometimes overwhelmed with numbers, forcing some patients to sleep on the floor, a situation they described as cases on the ground.
Tusiime says the hospital has no more cases on the ground in its general ward due to MTN’s intervention.
The intervention also reduced the burden on the hospital allowing it to focus on other aspects of its budget and purchasing.
“What we would have used for the purchase of beds was diverted to the construction of 2 emptying pit latrines which reduced the costs associated with the hospital’s sewage system,” he says.
MTN, as part of the UGX400m healthcare access initiative, supported health centers and hospitals by renovating maternity wards and donating bedding such as blankets, mosquito nets, mattresses and beds.
Likewise, some health centers have received solar lighting equipment and have their entire water system connected.
In total, 8 health centers and 5 hospitals across the country were supported.
Wim Vanhelleputte, Managing Director of MTN Uganda, praised the staff at hospitals and health centers, saying MTN is happy with their impact on driving in the community.
“I am very happy to see the ripple effect of the donation. It makes us very happy at MTN to see the lives of so many people affected and for that I want to thank the medical staff for making this possible. As MTN, we will constantly seek to find ways to transform the lives of Ugandans, ”he said.