By Andrew Masinde
Angela Tindimwebwa (29) is a mother of two living in Kamwokya Kifumbira slum in Kampala. She is expecting another baby and she confesses to have never visited a health centre for antenatal care.
She says she saw no value in visiting one when she had friends to help her give birth.
She added that none of her friends told her about the dangers of not visiting a hospital when pregnant and none of them does so.
After the training she vowed to start visiting the health centre.
“With this antenatal class, I am going to give birth to my third child from the hospital. I have learnt that delivering from home can cause complications to mothers, can lead to the newly born baby to contract HIV and that in a hospital there midwives who handle mothers well when giving birth.
Eleanor Bageine , the chairman WIMA lecturing mothers about antenatal services. Photo by Andrew Masinde
I was always discouraged by my friends that in hospital they pay a lot of money, and that midwives mistreat mothers giving birth, that is why I was reluctant to go to the hospital, and I could pay them sh25, 000 to help me give birth,” she says.
Tindimwebwa advised all stakeholders working to help improve antenatal care to move to the less privileged places like slums to teach mothers about antenatal services because most of them are ignorant about these services.
Like Tindimwebwa there’re many mothers in the country who lose their lives due to ignorance about antenatal services. This has puts many at risk of losing their babies and their lives.
According to the Uganda Demographic and Health survey, the maternal health indicators for Uganda have generally remained poor in the past years.
Over the years, maternal mortality stagnated at about 435 deaths per 100,000 live births.
Yesterday pregnant women and mothers from Mulago zone and all Kamwokya slums received free antenatal training at Save street children Uganda in Mulago.
The training was organised by Women’s International Maternity Aid (WIMA) a voluntary, non-profit organization of Ugandan and expatriate women dedicated to helping the people of Uganda improve and extend their mother and child health care facilities.
They were trained on the importance of visiting health centres while pregnant, testing for HIV, and giving birth in hospital.
They were also advised on the dangers of giving birth at home.
After the training, women received free mama kits, maternity dresses, and clothes for their babies and free millet floor for feeding their children.
Eleanor Bageine (L) giving Angela Tindimwebwa a mama kit after the training on importance of antenatal care. Photo by Andrew Masinde
Eleanor Bageine the chairman WIMA said they chose women in the slums because they thought they were ignorant about antenatal services.
“Indeed our thinking was right; most mothers in these slums were ignorant about these services.
We are to continue moving in different slums, our aim is to see that the less privileged get to know about the importance of antenatal services,” Bageine explained.
According to world health organisation (WHO), about 287 000 women died in 2010 of complications during pregnancy or childbirth.
Most of these deaths can be avoided as the necessary medical interventions exist and are well known.
The key obstacle is pregnant women's lack of access to quality care before, during and after childbirth.
A mother receiving millet flour for her baby. Photo by Andrew Masinde
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