Safe Mothers, Safe Babies

Safe Mothers, Safe Babies
Photo Credit: Anne Sherwood

05 November 2012

How do community members in the Iganga District view maternal and child health?

Thank you to Serena Rodriguez for the photographs and testimonials.

This past summer, SAFE intern Serena Rodriguez turned her vision into reality by implementing the Photo Voice project in several communities in Uganda. According to Serena, the aim of the Photo Voice project is to "enable women, men and health center staff from rural villages in which Safe works to record, reflect on, and communicate the challenges and barriers they face to good maternal and child health and the strengths and triumphs of their communities, or individuals within their communities, to address those challenges and barriers."

Ultimately the Photo Voice project serves to raise awareness within communities in the rural Iganga district about the barriers that families face in maintaining good maternal and child health, but also celebrating the "strengths and triumphs of these communities to address these challenges."

Community discussion about the goals of the Photo Voice project
Serena accomplished these goals by organizing meetings with several communities in the Iganga district including women's groups, men's groups, and health centers, to explain the goals of the project and gauge interest. Photographers were then selected, often by nomination from fellow community members, and Serena held one-on-one meetings with each participant to go over the aims of the project and the participant's role. With Medie as the translator, the participants discussed what they perceived as challenges to good maternal and child health in their community and what they thought the successes of their community were.
Community member learn how to use the cameras

After these brainstorming sessions, participants were taught how to use the cameras and off they went!

Participants taking photographs

After a few days of taking photographs, participants met with Serena to discuss what they had taken pictures of, and to select their favorites to display at community health fairs! Serena also followed up with the participants by asking them questions like:

• Why did you choose to participate in the Photovoice Project?
• How do you define maternal and child health?
• What does it mean to have a healthy family?
• What are some challenges in your community to good maternal and child health?
• What are some of the strengths in your community when it comes to maternal and
child health?

Discussing photographs at a follow-up meeting

One-on-one follow-up meeting
One woman, Beatrice Bagaga, is the mother of four children ages 17, 15, 13, and 11. She represents MABEDA women's group in the PhotoVoice Project and she wanted to participate in the project because she felt like it was a good cause.
Beatrice Bagaga

According to Beatrice, maternal health "means taking good care of yourself during pregnancies so that you can have a safe delivery. Good child health is taking care of your
newborn so that the baby has a healthy life."

Beatrice describes how poverty prevents many members of her community from buying good, healthful food for their families, as well as purchasing supplies for a safe delivery.

She also explains that "women fear going to the hospital for care. They fear that the health center will test them for HIV which will create stress and deteriorate their health. Some women have confidence in local herbs so they decide that instead of going to the health center, they will just
take the local herbs."

Despite these challenges, Beatrice knows that her community works toward promoting good maternal and child health.

"There are some health workers in the health centers who are willing to help the women who go for care. There are willing people at the health centers. There are also programs who help those

who have HIV and other infections. The dramas created awareness for people. They know they
have to use family planning and that they should go to the health center. They should go for antenatal services when pregnant."

Below are some of the photos that Beatrice and other participants took, as well as photos from the community health fairs!

Beatrice Bagaga

“I wanted to show the importance of breastfeeding in this photograph.”

Beatrice Bagaga
“This woman is making a mat. I took this picture to show that it is important for women to do something in their home which can help them in the home or to make money. For example, making mats can help in the home and make money.”

Alisa Esther
Kalalu Women’s Voice

“She is picking greens from the garden with her child on her back.”

Community members check out the photos!

Knowing what good maternal and child health means from a young age!
Serena hopes that the Photo Voice project will be expanded over the next year, by providing more in depth photography training as well as holding exhibitions of the photographs in the U.S.. In fact, just last month, Serena presented the project at the Global Health Education Symposium at UTMB in Gavleston, Texas. Congratulations Serena!

No comments:

Post a Comment