Maternal health in Uganda, and at AE’s Milne Medical Centre
Pregnancy can be dangerous. For every 100,000 births in Uganda, 343 women die. In Australia, that number is 5.
In Uganda, over 400,000 women each year deliver their babies without a skilled birth attendant. These women are at risk of excessive bleeding or infection after delivery, either of which could cost them their lives.
Many women in Uganda opt to use traditional birth attendants (TBAs) rather than delivering their babies in government facilities. However, TBAs have recently been banned by the government due to their lack of formal training.
Women in Uganda prefer traditional birth attendants for several reasons. TBAs are said to be kind and polite, while staff in government facilities have been described as rough and uncaring. In some areas, the nearest maternity unit may be far away, or overcrowded, and some women trust local customs and traditions more than hospitals.
AE’s Milne Medical Centre (MMC) is a community health centre that is passionate about maternal health. MMC aims to provide dignified care, inspired by Matthew 11:28:
“Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”.
MMC provides care during and after pregnancy. Pregnant patients attend the clinic for check-ups, sonars and basic blood tests. The women also receive important health education, and fathers are encouraged to participate. Patients that deliver their babies at MMC are attended to by trained midwives, and a doctor when necessary.
One patient who recently delivered her baby at MMC, named her baby girl Mercy Favor, because of the “mercies and favour” she experienced at MMC on a very difficult journey of an unplanned pregnancy. She says,
“All my pregnancy journey since late February to November, I have been favoured by all the staffs of Milne Medical centre.”
She now anticipates a future of mercy and favour for her baby girl.
Ben Campbell (Sydney) is the CEO Africa Enterprise.