At the end of August, IWI distributed its first set of birthing kits to three health centres in Uganda! Our local partner, Extended Hands Uganda, distributed 600 kits to the 3 most under-resourced centres in the Amolatar District. Click here to see the gallery of photos from the distribution.
MISSION: TO ENABLE WOMEN IN THE AMOLATAR DISTRICT OF UGANDA TO ACCESS THEIR HUMAN RIGHT TO ADEQUATE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTHCARE
International Women's Initiative’s Safe Birthing Programme’s (SBP) main objective is to reduce maternal mortality in the Amolatar District in Northern Uganda, through providing birthing kits to health centres to enhance sanitary conditions for mothers while giving birth. Beyond their immediate effect, IWI believes this programme will have a far reaching impact: changing attitudes surrounding maternal health and raising local awareness of health centre use and safe birthing practices. As a result, IWI is directly impacting Uganda's gender equality, ensuring that women's rights to health is protected and fulfilled.
As many as 16 women die due to labor complications in Uganda daily due to the lack of adequate reproductive healthcare. In the northern region, rising fertility rates, and a higher than average maternal mortality ratio of 40 deaths per 100,000 births compounds their health burden. With the return of IDPs from Ugandan conflict with the LRA, the health system in the Northern Region has become overburdened and reproductive health services have suffered.
WHAT MAKES THE SAFE BIRTHING PROGRAMME IMPORTANT?
While birthing kits are provided by the Ugandan government, health centres in the Amolatar District are not always provided enough kits to meet the demands of their patients. Low kit numbers, as well as inconsistent delivery, means that not every woman is provided with a birthing kit upon entering the health centre for delivery, causing some women to have to pay for supplies or give birth in unsanitary conditions. IWI seeks to alleviate this by providing birthing kits to each centre to create a “buffer” to ensure all women have access to sanitary birthing conditions.
IWI is confident that the success of our programme will elicit a systemic change to women's access to healthcare in Northern Uganda. We can build robust constituencies for social change, mobilise support for maternal healthcare in other areas in Uganda, and expand our efforts to help bring about lasting change to the region.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
IWI is providing birthing kits to health facilities that are struggling to ensure that a woman’s right to reproductive healthcare is protected and fulfilled. IWI will provide an initial buffer amount of 50 kits to each of the health centres to augment kits provided by the government. Each subsequent month, kits will be provided to bring the centres back to the initial kit levels. This will ensure that all women giving birth in these centres have access to sanitary birthing conditions. International Women’s Initiative has partnered with the Birthing Kit Foundation of Australia to provide the birthing kits.
Our collaboration with our local partner organisation, Extended Hands Uganda (EHU), will ensure kit delivery to each centre. IWI and EHU will conduct monitoring and evaluation throughout the programme to ensure its effectiveness and adapt the programme as necessary. IWI believes that our collaboration improves the capabilities of our partners as well as ensuring our programme is sustainable. In all, 13 health centres in the Amolatar District will benefit from the Safe Birthing Programme.