Maternal Care at the Mpunde Health Center
“I remember that night like it was yesterday. It was a dark, rainy night twenty years ago. It was nearing midnight when I felt a sharp familiar pain in my lower abdomen. I knew too well what that meant, I was well past my due date. There were no boda bodas then, but my husband owned an old bicycle. I quickly got my things and we started riding to Nawaikoke HC III, about 15 kilometers away. We never made it. I had the baby at Bupeni at around 2am! I delivered my baby girl by the roadside, with the help of my husband, the bicycle repairer! There, in the dead of the night, with absolutely no experience and nothing to use; no gloves or blades, nothing. I had a baby. And we wrapped our baby in warm cloths and brought her home. There was no reason to proceed to the health center.” The story of Nabirye Nulu, resident of Ngereka Village is a sneak peek into the maternal health situation in and around Mpunde before the opening of Mpunde Health Center.
This was Nabirye’s experience and the face of maternal healthcare before Mpunde Health Center, the reality for over 5000 child bearing women in the Mpunde catchment area. Women had to brave the long distances to Irundu HC III, Bugaya HC III or Kagulu HC II. Stories of long queues during prenatal visits, congested labor suites, and maternity wards, poor sanitation, overworked, stressed midwives and mistreatment during labor. Many mothers opted to have their babies at the drug shops, or with the help of traditional birth attendants.
Since March 2019, 18 expectant mothers have accessed maternal care at Mpunde Health Center. The services currently available include prenatal care and delivery (with a separate delivery room and bed), and family planning.
On March 19, 2019, Mpunde Health Center delivered her first baby, at 3pm. Batumule Muzafalu and Namusobya Hadijja are the proud parents of Nubu Namugabwe, who was delivered with the assistance of the midwife, Amina Namwebya and the Clinician, Eunice Sabano.
According to the excited new mother, Namusobya Hadijja, “When I heard about the maternal care services at Mpunde Health center, I determined I would deliver my baby here. I was treated with so much care and respect. The health workers were so professional and mindful before and after delivery. They knew I was in pain, and uncomfortable and they didn’t shout at me. They tried everything to make it more bearable for me, and that was a whole new experience. They were genuinely concerned for me and my baby. Am so grateful for the quality services and am telling everyone who comes to visit me about my experience. Am sure many expectant mothers will be choosing Mpunde. I specifically told them to go there!”
Mutwalibi Matagala, Nubu’s paternal uncle speaking on behalf of his younger brother said the men were very excited with the accessible and affordable quality maternal care at Mpunde Health Center. “The bill was shockingly pocket friendly; from paying between 40,000 to 50,000 to paying 15,000, we are definitely happy with MHC, he added.
Amina, the MHC midwife shared in the excitement; “Our first baby was born weighing 2.5kgs. We are so excited to have been part of her birth and hope to help more mothers have safe deliveries.”
“We are really thrilled with the progress we have made in the efforts to provide maternal and newborn care in Mpunde community. I believe we will continue to provide these services with dignity and decency. We firmly believe healthcare with dignity is a human right. Transformative social change and development in Uganda needs interconnecting maternal and newborn inequality roots and collaboration across the health sector,” said ETH-U’s Executive Director Ibrahim Ssekalo.
Labor and delivery services are just the beginning of the future plans for Mpunde Health Center, said ETH Field Director Scott Blackwell: “We are so pleased with the rapid progress of our clinic, which wouldn’t be possible without the enthusiastic support and feedback from Mpunde and surrounding communities. We have plans to expand our services to include more advanced diagnostic testing, electronic medical record keeping, and a community insurance scheme. We are also developing a predictive model of disease which will help our staff better understand the specific problems that Buyende faces. It is a huge honor to serve in this community and see all of our hard work start to pay off.”
Stay tuned for more exciting developments about Mpunde Health Center!!
By Ritah Namutamba