This saturday a team of mothers that I am part of decided to visit Mulago Maternity and Labor wards. We collected clothes, bought a labor bed and a couple other instruments that were donated to this department
The experience I got will last a life time. At the entrance, we are greeted by mattresses full of new mothers, all corridors are filled with either in-labor mothers or new mothers with babies . The wards are candidly over filled with mothers both on beds and on the floor, bathrooms with dirty flowing water, mothers dripping with blood walking in the corridors, Nurses tired from working long shifts and this is just the beginning of the day. By 10am, they had already delivered 186 babies, most through natural births and only 18 through caesarean.
I felt sympathy for the nurses that work with the women. Most working long hours, dealing with all sorts of mothers, and little pay. The only motivation to do this job in Mulago, has to be one’s passion coz its definitely not the pay nor is it other benefits that come with some jobs.
As we moved around in the different wards, I couldn’t help but notice the high number of evidently teenage girls in-labor or as new mothers. Most of these alone without any helpers/care takers. 15 year old Mary( Not real name) stood out. Evidently clueless on pregnancy, reproductive health and child care, I wondered how she got here and what would happen to her and her baby. The majority the women between 15-25, most lacking even basic clothes for their babies, some babies were rapped in just sheets because the mother had no clothes. When most semi- financially stable mothers pack a whole suitcase of clothes, these young women had kaveras with one or two clothes for themselves and a blanket, sheet for the baby. Our presence was met with eagerness, excitement at what we had brought along and hope. It certainly dawned on me that we had carried very little and could only supply one or two wards. I wished we could collect more and go back that very day or the next.
One of the reasons I when for this was because of one of our products at WITU an SMS and simcard application called Nakazadde. Nakazade sends a daily text message to a pregnant or new mother with relevant information on pregnancy care and health, infant care , immunization reminders, reproductive health and hospital information. While also seeking feedback from the mothers on challenges they face and needs in the different communities. I managed to get a bulky number of women sign up for the program to receive this free information. Our hope is that when informed and not ignorant, most of these can prevent deaths of both mothers and infants.
If you are a mother and have some clothes ( especially new born) that you are no longer using, Please consider dropping them at Mulago or other hospitals. I am sure its the same case all over.