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UNFPA donates birth kits to midwives in hard-to-reach areas

Swedish ambassador to Uganda Per Lindgarde shakes hands with a retired midwife during the hand over of equipment to midwives in hard-to-reach areas at Mengo on March 14: PHOTO BY DAVID MAFABI

Kampala. As a commitment to delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled, the Swedish embassy has donated midwifery kits to private clinics in hard-to-reach areas of Uganda.

The kits meant for private midwives’ clinics and maternity homes in Karamoja and northern Uganda were on March 14, handed to the parent association Uganda Private Midwives Association (UPMA) at their offices in Mengo.

While handing over the equipment, the Swedish ambassador to Uganda, Mr Per Lindgarde, said the delivery was support from the Swedish government to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), through SIDA, to contribute to Uganda’s efforts to increase the number of skilled midwives in the country.

He explained that since 2010, Sweden together with UNFPA have trained 549 midwives, many of whom now serve in hard- to -reach areas.

“Without skilled birth attendance, giving life can neither be safe, nor referred on time, nor dealt with in an appropriate way.n Experience as well as research throughout the world has shown that the presence of a midwife at birth significantly reduces maternal mortality,” said Mr Lindgarde.

The kits consisted of maternal and neonatal resuscitation ambu bags, infant resuscitation ambu bags, maternal stethoscopes and suturing kits among others.

“Having this equipment in her custody, a midwife is able to conduct a safe clean delivery for a woman in her care and this is the surest way for us to reduce maternal and new-born mortality and morbidity,” said Mr Lindgarde.

He said in Uganda, seven out of 10 women now deliver with assistance from a skilled birth attendant, usually a midwife, and that it is no wonder then that the 2016 UDHS shows that the country has reduced maternal mortality from 438 deaths per 100,000 live births to 336 deaths per 100,000 live births between 2011 and 2016.

He, however, explained that access to skilled birth attendance is still disproportionately poor in rural areas as compared to urban areas, yet majority of Ugandans live in rural areas.

“For instance, only six in 10 pregnant women in rural areas attend the recommended four antenatal visits and this is worsened by inadequate access to essential drugs, supplies and equipment,” said Mr Lindgarde.

He said the handover of equipment to UPMA, is the right investment to ensure that every woman has access to a skilled, well equipped and motivated midwife before, during, and after her pregnancy and most importantly at childbirth.

He revealed that at UNFPA, they are always innovating around new ways to ensure that more of Uganda’s women have access to skilled birth attendance during delivery to ensure more safe births.

This help comes barely a two months after Sweden through UNFPA in December 2017 again supported the Ministry of Health and UPMA to conduct an assessment of clinics and maternity homes operated by midwives on a private basis in hard- to- reach areas.

Records indicate that UNFPA through Ministry of Health and with support from SIDA funded a refresher course in Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care and Family Planning for 60 midwives and procured 20 Midwifery kits for midwives in hard- to- reach districts (Katakwi, Amuria, Lira, Soroti, Kaberamaido, Kumi, Arua, Serere and Pallisa).

Dr. Charles Olaro, the director clinical services urged the health fraternity to work together to ensure that critical cadre of health workers are available in all health centres across the country, supported by the right equipment and supplies.

He urged the midwives who received the equipment to ensure that they are put to good use for the benefit of the mothers they are intended to assist.

 

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