In Uganda 16 women a day die from childbirth. Others are left incontinent by obstetric fistula from prolonged labor. In some villages, 4 out of 10 babies die. Most rural women birth at home, without skilled birth aides. To reduce deaths and prevent fistula, URICT and Kamuli Hospital will train 1,200 women, including birth attendants, in six villages in Kamuli District on pregnancy, safe birthing, and fistula prevention. Safe birth kits, mosquito nets and first aid kits will be dispersed.
Women in rural areas tend to birth at home. The nearest hospital may be 15 miles away, and require payment upfront. Transport is expensive too. Mothers - some as young as 14 - may even birth at the roadside. Friends and neighbors usually assist in delivery. They can't handle emergencies, or prevent fistula. Newborns may be washed in dirty water. Even trained birth attendants lack the means to buy safe birth kits and first aid boxes. Training and inputs are needed now for safer birthing!
Midwives and nurses from Kamuli General Hospital will provide six workshops to educate women on all aspects of pregnancy and birth (nutrition, immunizations, hygiene, and postpartum care). One traditional birth attendant in each village will be equipped with 40 safe birth kits, mosquito nets, and a fully-stocked first aid kit. She will receive training in techniques to address postpartum bleeding and shorten labor. URICT is already seeing positive results from such a workshop, held in 2013.
This high quality maternal education program will improve health outcomes and reduce poverty. This will be the first time such large numbers of women - 1,200 - will receive access to antenatal care, maternal health education, and safe birth practices. As more moms survive, fathers will not be left with the dual burden of child raising and earning income. Families will stay intact. Girls will not drop out of school to assume their mothers' duties. Fewer women's lives will be ruined by fistula.