Women in Kyangwali, Uganda embrace delivery at health facilities
Sister Joan Omoting (left), a Primary Health Care (PHC) officer, at AAH Uganda's Kyangwali Refugee Settlement counsels an expectant mother
Asiimwe Jacqueline, 29, from Kyarusensa Village in the Kyangwali refugee settlement in Uganda is looking forward to giving birth to her third child in a month's time. And this time round it will be different; she will deliver in a health facility.
Two years ago, she says she almost died from excessive bleeding during the delivery of her second child. She is now considering giving birth at the health centre. Her first child was delivered at home under the supervision of a traditional birth attendant (TBA). “I had a bad experience of bleeding and had to be admitted in hospital for four days. I don't want something like that to happen to me again.”
And while this is the unfortunate trend in many rural settings, a group of safe mother-hood promoters at the Settlement through the support of AAH Uganda are working hard to change this and have success stories to tell of mothers who now deliver in health facilities.
Gorretti Nyamaizi, 35, is one such mother. She has has had all three of her children at a health centre, which is eight kilometres from her home. “I have always delivered at the health centre because I know of the danger signs because I was told when I attended the ante-natal clinic,” says Nyamaizi, who hails from Nyansenge, which is another village in the Settlement.
She says the health facility is resourceful and provides her and other women with good information. She says she was encouraged to visit the facility by the safe motherhood promoters. “The midwife always stresses that I will receive a mama kit that will enable me to have a clean delivery,” she says. This is an all-in-one kit that contains everything needed to help provide a clean and safe delivery. Each mama kit contains plastic sheeting, razor blades, soap, gloves, cotton wool (gauze pad), cord ties, and a child health card.
At the health centre, testing for HIV for married couples is encouraged. “I appreciate the services at the health centre because it gives me an opportunity to get to know the HIV status of both my husband and I,” she says, with a smile.
In addition, at the heath centre, the couple is given information on family planning methods and benefits of spacing their children. “Since I started attending the clinics with my husband, it has become easier for him to embrace family planning,” Nyamaizi is quick to add.
Information given at the clinic has enabled her to overcome some beliefs and myths about childbirth. “My grandmother would urge me to deliver at home because she said she would help bury my placenta. She said that as when the placenta is buried with some local herbs, this would help me with child spacing,” she explains.
Nyamaizi, however, does not believe in these traditions. She one of the local champions encouraging other women in her village to give birth in the health centers because she has seen the difference it can make in saving lives at birth – for both mother and child.