ARUA - Midwives play a crucial role in saving the lives of mothers and newborns, however, due to inadequate resources women and babies die because of the shortage of qualified midwives.
Sabina Buleru a midwife in Bondo health center III, delights in delivering mothers and ensuring them and their babies are safe. Haste and carefulness are Buleru's daily companions.
In her snow-white dress well tied with a red belt, Buleru moves about the facility examining expectant mothers, supervising newly born babies before she proceeds to meet parents who require family planning.
Before dispensing to the couples the different methods of family planning she first educates them.
Her agility and unwavering commitment to excellence has made Buleru win souls of mothers at this health facility which is 29 kilometers from Arua town.
"I deliver about four mothers daily but sometimes while in the maternity ward late in the night I end-up delivering up to five or six, "Buleru says.
Buleru is one of the pioneer students of the E-learning program introduced by Amref health Africa in 2010.
Electronic learning helps enrolled midwives receive training including diagnosis of diseases, care for newborn babies, labor ward management and its complications among others, using electronic means through the internet, CD-ROM to access the education curriculum outside a traditional classroom.
"Throughout my two years of study I never missed being in the ward as well as attending to mothers, generally e-Learning gave me a peace of mind," she says.
Buleru says before enrolling for e-learning, there was a big Knowledge gap between what she knew from a traditional classroom to what she learnt later.
"E-Learning is much easier because I studied and work at the same time," she recalls.
She adds that today she is able to use E-learning knowledge in handling critical maternal conditions under pressure with minimal supervision.
I no longer work under pressure because through E-learning, I am able to handle complicated cases successfully with the help of three other midwives at the facility.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, (UNFPA) Uganda has about 1,043 midwives, which means the country needs 3,000 more midwives.
Doreen Bwetu a public health specialist and district health educator in Arua district is another beneficiary of the training. She credits e-learning for its flexibility.
"Besides that, the program helps in improving the quality of services delivery in the community because it does not require a midwife to be in class all the time," she said
She explains that today she is able to supervise village health teams (VHT) activities while in office.
As a district health educator, Bwetu confirms that through interactions with the mothers and midwives, the quality of services they offer in their communities has improved.
Agnes Atako the in charge of the midwifery department and the deputy principal at Arua School of nursing and midwifery said the school has enrolled eight students for e-learning for December.
Though e-learning has registered success; there is still limited face-to-face interaction with the tutors which remains a concern to students.
We are supposed to meet our tutors while on the program, however, I met mine only once, Juma Amina e-learning midwife at Arua School of nursing said.
Amina who is also a mother complains of high tuition and equipment costs owing to the fact that they are self- sponsored.
Amina says she is surviving on a loan which she borrowed to buy herself a second-hand laptop as desktops are not enough for all students.