Mbale – Before 2018, Busiu Health Centre IV in Mbale district received about 60 women delivering at the facility every month.
The health centre which at the time had very limited beds tried to house the mothers for at least 24 hours for purposes of medical review in vain.
“Initially we would tell the mother to stay around for 24 hours but when there was no room for the mother to sleep, she would go away,” Dr Maumbe Bernard the in-charge of Busiu Health Centre IV narrates.
The early departure of the mothers from the health centre was one of the reasons why some of the newly born babies died soon after. About 3 babies were dying in a period of three months.
Today, child mortality at the health centre is near extinguished. According to Dr Maumbe, the health centre now goes three months without recording any deaths.
These results are a culmination of combined efforts by the hospital and MTN Uganda.
MTN in the evening of 2018 donated beds and blankets to the health centre which have since enabled more pregnant women to seek maternity health care services.
The beds have allowed women stay over for a longer period enabling medical review of the mother and baby.
“Before we would have around 60 deliveries and now over a month, an average of 120 mothers are delivering from here but some months peak to 200. Antenatal visits are about 80 to 100,” he explains adding that hospital efforts of availing medicine have also played a key role in this outcome.
The telecom company also renovated the maternity ward which Dr Maumbe says has contributed to encouraging mothers to visit the health centre to seek proper medical antenatal services
In fact, the impact is far-reaching as Busiu health centre IV has now graduated to become a referral station for women in neighbouring towns of Butaleja and Manafwa.
Kyenjojo hospital tells the same tale. The hospital received 30 beds and 30 mattresses from MTN which were installed in the general ward. Charles Tusiime, the health officer of Kyenjojo district says these beds have been very instrumental in delivering treatment to the people from the western district.
“The impact much as patients may not know is great. One bed can be used by so many people. In a month you find one bed has served about 5 to 10 people with bed occupancy of about 3 days,” he said.
As he recounts, the hospital in the past would at times get overwhelmed by the numbers which would force some of the patients to sleep on the floor, a situation they described as floor cases.
Tusiime says the hospital no longer has floor cases in its general ward because of the MTN intervention.
The intervention has also reduced the burden for the hospital allowing it to focus on other aspects in regards to its budget and procurement.
“What we would have been using for procurement of beds has been diverted to the construction of 2 emptiable pit latrines which have addressed the costs associated with the hospital’s sewerage system,” he says.
MTN under the UGX400m access to health care initiative supported health centres and hospitals through refurbishing of maternity wards and donation of beddings such as blankets, mosquito nets, mattresses and beds.
Similarly, some of the health centres received solar lighting equipment and had their entire water system connected.
A total of 8 health centres and 5 hospitals across the country were supported.
Wim Vanhelleputte, MTN Uganda Chief executive officer, lauded the hospitals and health centre staff, saying MTN is pleased with their impact on driving in the community.
“I am very delighted to see the ripple effect of the donation. It makes us at MTN very happy to see the lives of many people impacted and for that, I would like to thank the medical staff for making this happen. As MTN, we shall constantly seek to find ways of transforming the lives of Ugandans,” he appreciated.