WINSENGA UPDATE/BULLETIN 36.0 – Rotarians in maternal health walk to save a life

Excerpts from

KAMPALA, Uganda – Ugandan Rotarians last week walked to save lives of mothers during child delivery. The charity walk that took place at the Ssese Islands was flagged off by the State Minister for Health, Sarah Opendi.

About 70 percent of mothers living in remote communities like Ssese Islands do not receive maternal health.

Most mothers give birth at home and risk losing their lives and babies. Some develop complications such as obstructed pregnancies which require a caesarian section operation, while some bleed to death.

It is for these reasons that Rotary Uganda organized a Charity walk dubbed “Walk for Maternal Health to Save a Life.” The objective of the charity walk was to raise funds towards availing medical services to mothers. Rotary is an international organization composed of professionals, business persons and community leaders united to serve the disadvantaged.

During the charity walk, medical services were offered to about 300 residents of Bugala one in Ssese Islands. Services ranged from antenatal care, cervical and breast cancer screening, family planning services including the distribution of contraceptives, HIV/AIDS counseling and testing, sexual reproductive health education, distribution of mosquito nets to expectant mothers and children and the distribution of delivery kits.

Dr. Jacinto Amandua, Commissioner, Clinical Services in the Ministry of Health said the health facilities in Bugala are improving and appropriate medical services are being given to mothers. He said the health center in Bugala is fully equipped to perform caesarian section operations. However he noted that the Island needs mobile health services to enable doctors reach patients in their communities.

The Minister, Opendi said, “The Government is going to avail motorized ambulances to major health centers to ensure all Ugandans access basic medical services. I would like to thank Rotary for funding our immunization program.”

She expressed her gratitude and said: “The vaccines are now available in all health centers and immunization of children against polio, measles and other diseases is going on throughout the country.” She appealed to medical personnel to offer quality and timely services to Ugandans.

Rotary club believes health is a human right, and is wholeheartedly engaged in funding and providing health services to save the lives of mothers and their babies in Uganda. Rotary club works with service providers across the country.

Annually Rotary club holds fundraising drives and receives contributions from businesses and the public towards securing maternal health for disadvantaged mothers and children. Proceeds from such fundraising events are used to build and/or equip several health facilities in Uganda. For instance, a health facility was built in Abur Village in Tororo district to serve over 3,000 people in that community.

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WINSENGA UPDATE/BULLETIN 35.0 –Rotary, Aga Khan University announce their first graduating class in scholarship program in East Africa

Excerpts from Africa Science News

With more than 50 percent of women in the developing world delivering babies without the assistance of skilled health personnel, Rotary, a global humanitarian service organization; and Aga Khan University (AKU), a private non-denominational university; are together increasing access to trained health professionals for mothers and infants in East Africa.

The first class of 24 Rotary-sponsored scholars will graduate this month from AKU’s campuses in East Africa, in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda with Bachelor of Science degrees in Nursing, or Diplomas in General Nursing.
“In rural Kenya, having a nurse or midwife present during childbirth can mean the difference between life and death,” said Geeta Manek Rotary member from Nairobi. “This class of highly trained nurses will help ensure that mothers and their infants receive the best health care possible.”


WINSENGA UPDATE/BULLETIN 33.0 – PPH Medication Could Cut Maternal Deaths

Excerpts from

IN a country where deaths from pregnancy and childbirth have reducing insignificantly, the recent report of the introduction of a new medication for prevention and treatment of postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is seen as a moment of hope.

Health analysts touted it as a fresh move that targets reducing the number of maternal deaths currently standing at 13,000 per year. Despite progress in reducing under-five child mortality, Tanzania is ranked among the countries with the highest child and maternal mortality in the world, a new report for the ‘best place to be a mother’ shows.

According to the State of the World’s Mothers, by Save the Children, an Independent Children’s charity working in over 40 countries across the world, the situation of mothers and newborn babies dying from preventable diseases in the country is still terrifying.

According to the report, Tanzania is one of the 12 countries, which accounts for 77 per cent of the global health workforce shortage. Tanzania’s rapidly growing population, which is currently estimated at 2.9 per cent per annum, is cited by the report as one of the challenges facing the country, while its overall health workforce is shrinking fast.


WINSENGA UPDATE/BULLETIN 32.0 – Male involvement during pregnancy and childbirth

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.


WINSENGA UPDATE/BULLETIN 31.0 – In Uganda, a Midwife and a Mother Come Together

In Uganda, a Midwife and a Mother Come Together
Reducing infant mortality in the African country takes a partnership

Gertrude Namara knew it would take an hour to reach the Nyamuyanja Health Center from her mud-walled home in Western Uganda. Her four children had been born there, and this baby would be no different. Giving birth in a health facility with a skilled nurse or midwife is a major factor in surviving complications of childbirth in Uganda, where the maternal mortality ratio is 438 deaths per 100,000 live births. On a warm, mid-July day, as her labor steadily progressed, the 29-year-old set out on foot.

Namara was greeted by the familiar face of midwife Pulkeria Kyorasiime, one of a dozen health care providers who staff the center in Isingiro District, where Namara had attended prenatal classes. “Pulkeria and another health worker would examine me during my visits to the health facility and they gave me my expected delivery date so I was prepared for the birth and had everything in place,” says Namara.

Namara had a healthy girl and returned home. A week later, Kyorasiime was at her door. One-third of Ugandan mothers receive such visits within two days of a birth. Kyorasiime discussed nutrition and hygiene and made sure the baby was breastfeeding properly, especially important in a country with an under-5 mortality rate of 56 deaths per 1,000 live births. Kyorasiime also talked about postpartum family planning and the benefits to mother and baby.


WINSENGA UPDATE/BULLETIN 30.0 – Traditional birth attendants contribute to infant deaths

Excerpts from

Traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in Nakuru County are believed to be a leading cause of infant deaths.

In communities where the TBAs are still part of their cultural practices, they have a high social standing especially where deliveries are done at home as opposed to a health facility.

But what is of great concern is that most of these TBAs contribute to increased maternal and perinatal mortality rates since they mainly rely on traditional practices some of which are harmful to the mothers and their babies.

At the same time, most are concerned with earning a living from their practice and therefore do not consider the dangers they may be putting expectant mothers and the unborn babies into.

The TBAs, who mostly practice secretly, keep new mothers away from proper medical attention offered at health facilities for more than a week in order to earn more and hence deny the infants the needed care.

Some have even admitted that they have let infants whom they know are having serious complication stay under their care.

“The more they stay with us, the more money we earn. They pay at least Sh400 a day and in a week this translates to Sh2400.
This is enough for me to push through another week,” said Jane Wangechi (not her real name), a TBA in Mai Mahiu.