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1.  Lived experiences of women who developed uterine rupture following severe obstructed labor in Mulago hospital, Uganda 
Reproductive Health  2014;11:31.
Background
Maternal mortality is a major public health challenge in Uganda. Whereas uterine rupture remains a major cause of maternal morbidity and mortality, there is limited research into what happens to women who survive such severe obstetric complications. Understanding their experiences might delineate strategies to support survivors.
Methods
This qualitative study used a phenomenological approach to explore lived experiences of women who developed uterine rupture following obstructed labor. In-depth interviews initially conducted during their hospitalization were repeated 3–6 months after the childbirth event to explore their health and meanings they attached to the traumatic events and their outcomes. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis.
Results
The resultant themes included barriers to access healthcare, multiple “losses” and enduring physical, psychosocial and economic consequences. Many women who develop uterine rupture fail to access critical care needed due to failure to recognise danger signs of obstructed labor, late decision making for accessing care, geographical barriers to health facilities, late or failure to diagnose obstructed labor at health facilities, and failure to promptly perform caesarean section. Secondly, the sequel of uterine rupture includes several losses (loss of lives, loss of fertility, loss of body image, poor quality of life and disrupted marital relationships). Thirdly, uterine rupture has grim economic consequences for the survivors (with financial loss and loss of income during and after the calamitous events).
Conclusion
Uterine rupture is associated with poor quality of care due to factors that operate at personal, household, family, community and society levels, and results in dire physical, psychosocial and financial consequences for survivors. There is need to improve access to and provision of emergency obstetric care in order to prevent uterine rupture consequent to obstructed labor. There is also critical need to provide counselling and support to survivors to enable them cope with physical, social, psychological and economic consequences.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-11-31
PMCID: PMC3997795  PMID: 24758354
2.  Male involvement during pregnancy and childbirth: men’s perceptions, practices and experiences during the care for women who developed childbirth complications in Mulago Hospital, Uganda 
Background
Development of appropriate interventions to increase male involvement in pregnancy and childbirth is vital to strategies for improving health outcomes of women with obstetric complications. The objective was to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences of male involvement in their partners’ healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth. The findings might inform interventions for increasing men’s involvement in reproductive health issues.
Methods
We conducted 16 in-depth interviews with men who came to the hospital to attend to their spouses/partners admitted to Mulago National Referral Hospital. All the spouses/partners had developed severe obstetric complications and were admitted in the high dependency unit. We sought to obtain detailed descriptions of men’s experiences, their perception of an ideal “father” and the challenges in achieving this ideal status. We also assessed perceived strategies for increasing male participation in their partners’ healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth. Data was analyzed by content analysis.
Results
The identified themes were: Men have different descriptions of their relationships; responsibility was an obligation; ideal fathers provide support to mothers during childbirth; the health system limits male involvement in childbirth; men have no clear roles during childbirth, and exclusion and alienation in the hospital environment. The men described qualities of the ideal father as one who was available, easily reached, accessible and considerate. Most men were willing to learn about their expected roles during childbirth and were eager to support their partners/wives/spouses during this time. However, they identified personal, relationship, family and community factors as barriers to their involvement. They found the health system unwelcoming, intimidating and unsupportive. Suggestions to improve men’s involvement include creating more awareness for fathers, male-targeted antenatal education and support, and changing provider attitudes.
Conclusions
This study generates information on perceived roles, expectations, experiences and challenges faced by men who wish to be involved in maternal health issues, particularly during pregnancy and childbirth. There is discord between the policy and practice on male involvement in pregnancy and childbirth. Health system factors that are critical to promoting male involvement in women’s health issues during pregnancy and childbirth need to be addressed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-54
PMCID: PMC3916059  PMID: 24479421
3.  Prevalence and factors associated with use of herbal medicine among women attending an infertility clinic in Uganda 
Background
Infertility is a public health problem associated with devastating psychosocial consequences. In countries where infertility care is difficult to access, women turn to herbal medicines to achieve parenthood. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and factors associated with herbal medicine use by women attending the infertility clinic.
Methods
This was a cross-sectional study of 260 women attending the infertility clinic at Mulago hospital. The interviewer administered questionnaire comprised socio-demographic characteristics, infertility-related aspects and information on herbal medicine use. The main outcome measure was herbal medicines use for infertility treatment. Determinants of herbal medicine use were assessed using multivariable logistic regression.
Results
The majority (76.2%) of respondents had used herbal medicines for infertility treatment. The mean age of the participants was 28.3 years ± 5.5. Over 80% were married, 59.6% had secondary infertility and 2/3 of the married participants were in monogamous unions. In a multivariable model, the variables that were independently associated with increased use of herbal medicine among infertile patients were being married (OR 2.55, CI 1.24-5.24), never conceived (OR 4.08 CI 1.86-8.96) and infertility for less than 3 years (OR 3.52 CI 1.51-8.821). Factors that were associated with less use of herbal medicine among infertile women were being aged 30 years or less (OR 0.18 CI 0.07-0.46), primary and no education (OR 0.12 CI 0.05-0.46) and living with partner for less than three years (OR 0.39 CI 0.16-0.93).
Conclusions
The prevalence of herbal medicine use among women attending the infertility clinic was 76.2%. Herbal medicine use was associated with the participants’ age, level of education, marital status, infertility duration, nulliparity, and duration of marriage. Medical care was often delayed and the majority of the participants did not disclose use of herbal medicines to the attending physician. Health professionals should enquire about use of herbal medicines. This may help in educating the patients about the health risks of using herbal medicine and may reduce delays in seeking appropriate care. Collaboration of health professionals with herbal medicine practitioners would help identify the common herbal medicines used for infertility treatment, their potential benefits and harm.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-27
PMCID: PMC3898407  PMID: 24433549
Herbal medicine; Infertility; Uganda Sub-Saharan Africa; Traditional medicine
4.  Use of surgical task shifting to scale up essential surgical services: a feasibility analysis at facility level in Uganda 
Background
The shortage and mal-distribution of surgical specialists in sub-Saharan African countries is born out of shortage of individuals choosing a surgical career, limited training capacity, inadequate remuneration, and reluctance on the part of professionals to work in rural and remote areas, among other reasons. This study set out to assess the views of clinicians and managers on the use of task shifting as an effective way of alleviating shortages of skilled personnel at a facility level.
Methods
37 in-depth interviews with key informants and 24 focus group discussions were held to collect qualitative data, with a total of 80 healthcare managers and frontline health workers at 24 sites in 15 districts. Quantitative and descriptive facility data were also collected, including operating room log sheets to identify the most commonly conducted operations.
Results
Most health facility managers and health workers supported surgical task shifting and some health workers practiced it. The practice is primarily driven by a shortage of human resources for health. Personnel expressed reluctance to engage in surgical task shifting in the absence of a regulatory mechanism or guiding policy. Those in favor of surgical task shifting regarded it as a potential solution to the lack of skilled personnel. Those who opposed it saw it as an approach that could reduce the quality of care and weaken the health system in the long term by opening it to unregulated practice and abuse of privilege. There were enough patient numbers and basic infrastructure to support training across all facilities for surgical task shifting.
Conclusion
Whereas surgical task shifting was viewed as a short-term measure alongside efforts to train and retain adequate numbers of surgical specialists, efforts to upscale its use were widely encouraged.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-292
PMCID: PMC3734124  PMID: 23915241
Surgical; Task shifting; Uganda; Human Resource for Health crisis
5.  Intimate partner violence among women with HIV infection in rural Uganda: critical implications for policy and practice 
BMC Women's Health  2011;11:50.
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major public health problem in Africa and worldwide. HIV infected women face increased IPV risk. We assessed the prevalence and factors associated with IPV among HIV infected women attending HIV care in Kabale hospital, Uganda.
Methods
This cross-sectional study was conducted among 317 HIV infected women attending Kabale regional hospital HIV treatment centre, from March to December 2010. Participants were interviewed using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Data was collected on socio-demographic variables, social habits, and IPV (using the abuse assessment screen and the Severity of Violence against Women Scale to identify physical, sexual and psychological violence). Characteristics of the participants who reported IPV were compared with those who did not. Multivariate logistic-regression analysis was conducted to analyze factors that were independently associated with IPV.
Results
The mean age of 317 respondents was 29.7 years. Twenty two (6.9%) were adolescents and 233 (73.5%) were married or cohabiting. The mean age of the spouse was 33.0 years.
One hundred and eleven (35.0%) were currently on antiretroviral therapy. Lifetime prevalence of IPV (physical or sexual) was 36.6%. In the preceding 12 months, IPV (any type) was reported by 93 respondents (29.3%). This was physical for 55 (17.6%), and sexual /psychological for 38 (12.1%). On multivariate multinomial logistic regression analysis, there was a significant but inverse association between education level and physical partner violence (adjusted relative risk (ARR) 0.50, confidence limits (95% CI) 0.31-0.82, p-value = 0.007). There was a significant but inverse association between education level of respondent and sexual/psychological violence (ARR 0.47 95%CI (0.25-0.87), p-value = 0.017) Likewise, there was a significant inverse association between the education level of the spouse and psychological/sexual violence (ARR 0.57, 95% CI 0.25-0.90, p-value = 0.018). Use of antiretroviral therapy was associated with increased prevalence of any type of violence (physical, sexual or psychological) with ARR 3.04 (95%CI 1.15-8.45, p-value = 0.032).
Conclusion
Almost one in three women living with HIV had suffered intimate partner violence in the preceding 12 months. Nearly one in five HIV patients reported physical violence, and about one in every seven HIV patients reported sexual/psychological violence. Likewise, women who were taking antiretroviral drugs for HIV treatment were more likely to report any type of intimate partner violence (physical, sexual or psychological). The implication of these findings is that women living with HIV especially those on antiretroviral drugs should be routinely screened for intimate partner violence.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-11-50
PMCID: PMC3231867  PMID: 22093904
6.  Systematic review of the magnitude and case fatality ratio for severe maternal morbidity in sub-Saharan Africa between 1995 and 2010 
Background
Analysis of severe maternal morbidity (maternal near misses) provides information on the quality of care. We assessed the prevalence/incidence of maternal near miss, maternal mortality and case fatality ratio through systematic review of studies on severe maternal morbidity in sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods
We examined studies that reported prevalence/incidence of severe maternal morbidity (maternal near misses) during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period between 1996 and 2010. We evaluated the quality of studies (objectives, study design, population studied, setting and context, definition of severe acute obstetric morbidity and data collection instruments). We extracted data, using a pre-defined protocol and criteria, and estimated the prevalence or incidence of maternal near miss. The case-fatality ratios for reported maternal complications were estimated.
Results
We identified 12 studies: six were cross-sectional, five were prospective and one was a retrospective review of medical records. There was variation in the setting: while some studies were health facility-based (at the national referral hospital, regional hospital or various district hospitals), others were community-based studies. The sample size varied from 557 women to 23,026. Different definitions and terminologies for maternal near miss included acute obstetric complications, severe life threatening obstetric complications and severe obstetric complications. The incidence/prevalence ratio and case-fatality ratio for maternal near misses ranged from 1.1%-10.1% and 3.1%-37.4% respectively. Ruptured uterus, sepsis, obstructed labor and hemorrhage were the commonest morbidities that were analyzed. The incidence/prevalence ratio of hemorrhage ranged from 0.06% to 3.05%, while the case fatality ratio for hemorrhage ranged from 2.8% to 27.3%. The prevalence/incidence ratio for sepsis ranged from 0.03% to 0.7%, while the case fatality ratio ranged from 0.0% to 72.7%.
Conclusion
The incidence/prevalence ratio and case fatality ratio of maternal near misses are very high in studies from sub-Saharan Africa. Large differences exist between countries on the prevalence/incidence of maternal near misses. This could be due to different contexts/settings, variation in the criteria used to define the maternal near misses morbidity, or rigor used carrying out the study. Future research on maternal near misses should adopt the WHO recommendation on classification of maternal morbidity and mortality.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-11-65
PMCID: PMC3203082  PMID: 21955698
7.  Male involvement in birth preparedness and complication readiness for emergency obstetric referrals in rural Uganda 
Reproductive Health  2011;8:12.
Background
Every pregnant woman faces risk of life-threatening obstetric complications. A birth-preparedness package promotes active preparation and assists in decision-making for healthcare seeking in case of such complications. The aim was to assess factors associated with birth preparedness and complication-readiness as well as the level of male participation in the birth plan among emergency obstetric referrals in rural Uganda.
Methods
This was a cross-sectional study conducted at Kabale regional hospital maternity ward among 140 women admitted as emergency obstetric referrals in antenatal, labor or the postpartum period. Data was collected on socio-demographics and birth preparedness and what roles spouses were involved in during developing the birth plan. Any woman who attended antenatal care at least 4 times, received health education on pregnancy and childbirth danger signs, saved money for emergencies, made a plan of where to deliver from and made preparations for a birth companion, was deemed as having made a birth plan. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to analyze factors that were independently associated with having a birth plan.
Results
The mean age was 26.8 ± 6.6 years, while mean age of the spouse was 32.8 ± 8.3 years. Over 100 (73.8%) women and 75 (55.2%) of their spouses had no formal education or only primary level of education respectively. On multivariable analysis, Primigravidae compared to multigravidae, OR 1.8 95%CI (1.0-3.0), education level of spouse of secondary or higher versus primary level or none, OR 3.8 95%CI (1.2-11.0), formal occupation versus informal occupation of spouse, OR 1.6 95%CI (1.1-2.5), presence of pregnancy complications OR 1.4 95%CI (1.1-2.0) and the anticipated mode of delivery of caesarean section versus vaginal delivery, OR 1.6 95%CI (1.0-2.4) were associated with having a birth plan.
Conclusion
Individual women, families and communities need to be empowered to contribute positively to making pregnancy safer by making a birth plan.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-8-12
PMCID: PMC3118172  PMID: 21548976
8.  Factors that predict fertility desires for people living with HIV infection at a support and treatment centre in Kabale, Uganda 
Reproductive Health  2010;7:27.
Background
Studies from different contexts worldwide indicate that HIV positive patients manifest high-risk sexual behavior characterized by fertility intentions, multiple sexual partners, non-use of contraceptives and non-disclosure of HIV status to their sex partners. The objective was to analyze fertility desires among persons living with HIV at a treatment centre in Kabale Hospital, Southwestern Uganda.
Methods
From January to August 2009, we interviewed 400 HIV positive patients seeking care using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. We assessed socio-demographic variables, reproductive history, sexuality and fertility desires. At bivariate and multivariate analysis, characteristics of participants who reported or did not report desire to have a child in the near future were compared.
Results
Of the 400 respondents, (25.3%) were male, 47.3% were aged 25-34 years, over 85% were currently married or had ever been married, and the 62% had primary level of education or less. Over 17% had produced a child since the HIV diagnosis was made, and 28.6% reported that they would like to have a child in the near future. Age of the respondent, being single (versus being ever-married) and whether any of the respondents' children had died were inversely associated with fertility intentions.
Conclusion
Factors inversely associated with fertility intentions were age of the respondent, marital status and whether any of the respondents' children had died. Use of antiretroviral therapy was not associated with fertility intentions.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-7-27
PMCID: PMC2964526  PMID: 20937095

Results 1-8 (8)