Women in labour take turns to deliver at Kpalworgu CHPS Compound in UWR
• Kpalworgu CHPS compound
Pregnant women in labour at Kpalworgu community in the Wa East District of the Upper West Region have to take turns to deliver at the only Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound in the community due to small space in the cubicle designated for birth.
The facility has one room available for healthcare services and has been partitioned into three cubicles with one serving as labour room, another as general consulting room and the other as a room for out-patient-department services for over 2,000 residents of Kpalworgu, Zowala and other farm settlements.
A representative of the Community Chief at a water commissioning programme at Kpalworgu, Mr. Seidu Mahamoud told The Spectator newspaper that “when two women are in labour at the same time, one would have to wait on the verandah for the one who accesses the facility first to finish delivery before the other takes her turn because the room can contain only one patient at a time”.
He lamented that the practice was against the well-being and dignity of women in the community and beyond as patients who visited the facility for general consultation could practically hear or chance on a woman in labour or delivering either in the cubicle or on the verandah.
“If all pregnant women in labour come for delivery, then the staff would really be overwhelmed; due to the poor nature of the road, some of the women from farther settlements deliver before they reach the facility and in the rainy season, some women deliver at home because their settlements get cut off from Kpalworgu, and all of these put the life of our women at risk”, he said with concern.
Meanwhile, the Sustainable Development Goal 3 preaches healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages with an extended target of reducing maternal mortality ratio by 70 per 100,000 live births.
Apparently, the size of the maternity ward was not the only challenge women faced in the community as Mr Seidu explained that sometimes pregnant women with complications who were referred to Bulenga, the nearest community for further treatment had no means of transportation.
“Men use bicycles and motorbikes to transport women in labour from their settlements to this facility or from this facility to town on referral cases; consider the risk in transporting a pregnant woman with complications to Bulenga (about an hour and half drive in a luxurious vehicle) on a motorbike”, he said.
Madam Asibi, a Fulani settler in the community told this reporter that she delivered her second child on the verandah when the other woman in the room at the time delayed in giving birth and the midwife had to attend to her instead and said at that point, the possibility of people seeing her nakedness was not something to consider due to the labour pains.
A mother of three, Abena Yibile narrated her ordeal when she was being transported in a tricycle (which is used to carry sachet water in other jurisdictions) together with other passengers from the village to Bulenga on referral to deliver her third child.
“The bumpy road was really unbearable but I had to be strong because I was not the only one on board and I had used the road on a motorbike earlier in my pregnancy, but looking back now, I think it is just a miracle that some of us do not miscarry under such circumstances”, she said.
The Community would be grateful if an additional facility is constructed for maternal cases only and also equipped with enough staff as well as a “tricycle ambulance” to aid in transporting referred patients to either Bulenga or Funsi.
From Lydia Darlington Fordjour, Kpalworgu