Motherhood – It is one of the most challenging, joyful, hard and beautiful things.
We asked mothers from Australia and Uganda, “What do you feel when you look at your children?”. The responses were similar and breathtakingly beautiful – joyful, hopeful about what is ahead, love. We realised that no matter where you are in the world, no matter what circumstance you are in, what a mother feels when she looks at her child is universal.
What divides us, however, is simply where we are born. The challenges that a mother will face in Uganda, even from pre-conception are vastly different and more life-threatening than those challenges a mother in the western world may face.
Pregnancy and childbirth are a miracle and should be a beautiful time of preparation and immense hope. However, women in Uganda face a dreadful reality. The experience of pregnancy and childbirth is marred by the tragic reality that both a mother and her unborn baby could face death in the process of labour. No mother should face that risk, and fear for life while bringing her baby into the world. The perinatal mortality rate in Uganda is 38 deaths per 1,000 births – far too high.
These complications that occur in pregnancy, like high blood pressure, bleeding, infections, and conditions that can be exacerbated by pregnancy like HIV and malaria, are all treatable, and in some cases preventable with access to basic medical care. Additionally, childbirth outside clinics and without a skilled attendant on hand increases the risk significantly.
To reduce this number, we need to focus on antenatal care, and ensuring every woman is well prepared and educated on pregnancy and childbirth and knows what her resources and options are. A community-centred approach is essential, and this is what we are undertaking at Kristina Health Centre. Outreaches are scheduled multiple times per month to increase knowledge and access to care in some of the more remote areas. A team of 33 Village Health Team Members are the connecting arm between the clinic is new or expectant mothers, following up on those who need care, and keeping an eye on those who have had children.
This year, The 5KM A DAY IN MAY MOTHER RUN is focused on reducing this number of pregnancy and birth-related deaths by increasing access to basic maternal health care through outreach and antenatal appointments.
We’re so grateful for the generosity of our community and partners supporting KHC to help make access to maternity care possible for women in remote northern Uganda.
Just $50 can provide a birthing kit containing all the equipment and medications midwives at KHC need to provide a woman in northern Uganda with a safe birth.