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GWEFODE urges Indigenous Batwa Women to always go for Antenatal Check-ups

The Indigenous Batwa people in South western Uganda are facing increased discrimination and lack of access to quality health care services especially Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health services. Following implementation of conflict resolution and community action for the Batwa Empowerment project with financial support from United Nations, it was discovered that the Batwa in South-western Uganda are highly discriminated and lack access to quality health care services especially Women’s sexual and reproductive health services.

The Batwa also referred to as pygmies cannot access health services when they fall sick and cannot afford the user fees from private health centres while pregnant Batwa women are highly discriminated from accessing reproductive health services on grounds of poverty and poor hygiene and cannot be attended by the Health personnel.

A pregnant Pygmy Woman, One Miria collapsed during a Human rights sensitization workshop organized by GWEFODE after which she was delivered to Muko Parish Health Centre for treatment and Medical personnel discovered that the foetus was not alive for the past 7 days. Had it not been GWEFODE’s Workshop which Miria had attended, she would have died at home as she did not have access to medical personnel to attend her pregnancy and was not aware of what was going on.

The Executive Director of GWEFODE Ms Komuhangi Lydia urged pregnant Batwa women to always go for antenatal checkups and requested medical personnel to treat the Batwa as human beings. It has been discovered that many Batwa women do not go for antenatal check-ups because of ignorance, the discrimination and humiliation they have to undergo from medical personnel on one hand and unaffordable payment of user fees due to poverty on the other.