PAKWACH. Pakwach district maternal health department has registered significant increase in the number of new born babies in the months of March and April despite the disruptions brought about by coronavirus pandemic.

Authorities at the health center, the main unit for the district said a total of fourteen mothers underwent successful operation in the month of March and twenty one in April compared to only two and seventeen cases in January and February respectively.

Records also show that the health center IV registered 113 and 132 normal births for the months of March and April respectively as compared to 104 and 98 cases for the months of January and February respectively.

Ms Cissy Canpara, a senior midwife at the health unit said the rapid increase in the cases is due to excellent referral systems through usage of Boda bodas contracted by AVSI, a nongovernmental organization partnering with the district, Fulltime Ambulance service under Bakhit Foundation and availability of two specialized medical doctors contracted by UNICEF at the facility.

She said the referred cases are mainly from rural sub counties of Alwi, Wadelai Pakia and Pokwero in Panyango Sub County.

"The different approaches of communication have greatly contributed to this milestone but there are some mothers still living in fear of giving birth at health units due to some existence of cultural norms which we strongly discourage”, she said.

Ms Hellen Akello, an expectant mother applauded the increased awareness through outreach but urged the medics to root for more during the pandemic. She said the lockdown had compelled some mothers to deliver at home after persistent failure to secure travel letters from the offices of resident district commissioner.

Ms Jessica Draru, the assistant district health officer in charge of maternity and reproductive health said the numbers would be higher but asserted that many mothers continue to give birth under the watch of the traditional birth attendants in homes.

She cited Panyimur and Dei as the sub counties with the least records of birth delivery at lower health centers.

Ms Jessica Draru v

"What we have is below our target , our challenge is mainly at the sub counties with mostly no registered case of birth at the health centres, this clearly tells us that traditional birth attendants are still being used and our mothers risking their lives and that of the unborn baby", she said.

Draru also raised a red flag over the drop in immunization figures during the COVID 19 lockdown in the district saying it could adversely affect the district if not improved.

Apart from UNICEF and AVSI, the district is supported by other partners like, infectious disease institute (IDI) and Plan international that has been channeling assistance in the reproductive health to boost maternal health.