Single maternity unit in Boteti East a concern

Sethomo Leatisitswe
Sethomo Leatisitswe

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Boteti East Sethomo Leatisitswe has expressed great concern over the lack of maternity wings in health facilities in his constituency.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Leatisitswe said that there is only one health facility that has a maternity unit in Boteti East constituency posing grave danger to the lives of both expectant mothers and their unborn babies. 

“There is one maternity ward in one of the health facilities at Boteti East covering the whole constituency. Don’t you find it important to open one in one of the villages to avoid expectant mothers having to travel long distances to access appropriate medical attention? We don’t want to lose more children due to lack of (sufficient) facilities,” he said. 

Furthermore, he asked the Minister of Health and Wellness to update Parliament on the number of home deliveries and births before arrival at clinics reported at Mokubilo, Mmea and Khwee villages in the past three years.  He also asked him to state the causes of such and the associated risks; measures in place to reduce such cases and to state when the government will build a maternity wing in Mokubilo Clinic. 

Responding to this, the Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness Biki Butale said the number of home deliveries and/or births before arrival reported at Mokubilo, Mmea and Khwee villages in the past three years (2016, 2017 and 2018) were Mokubilo, 60, Mmea, 35, and Khwee, 77. 

“Causes of such include women not going to the antenatal care clinic and getting the necessary education and advice to plan to reach timely health facility in the event of labour.  Proximity to the facility where delivery is conducted (distance) from Mokubilo to Letlhakane is 100km, Mmea is 121km and Khwee is 63km).  The associated risks include labour and delivery complications that impact on the wellbeing of both the mother and the baby,” he explained. 

Touching on the measures in place to reduce such cases, Butale highlighted that they conducted health education on sexual and reproductive health to the community and targeted community groups such as in and out of school.  He added that communication in the form of campaign, use of various platforms and facility health talks on the need for early registration, adherence to antenatal care visits by midwife from Mokubilo to Mmea health post on a weekly basis. He also stated that Khwee had a resident midwife. 

Butale also highlighted that the plan to upgrade Mokubilo Health Post to a clinic without a maternity unit was forfeited to accommodate the upgrading of Letlhakane Primary Hospital. He added that Mokubilo and Mosu Health Posts were initially in NDP 11 for upgrade to clinic without maternity, but were both forfeited in order to accommodate the upgrade of Letlhakane Primary Hospital.  He, however, pointed out that due to budget constraints, Letlhakane Primary Hospital was not catered for in the 2019-2020 financial year.

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