Safe Mothers, Safe Babies

Safe Mothers, Safe Babies
Photo Credit: Anne Sherwood

14 November 2012

Improvements at Lubira Health Center

   Installing the solar panel on the roof of the health center
SAFE interns Kate Fritton and Michela Mickler were also busy this summer in Uganda, working on the eRanger program and a new project called Save for Safe Delivery (stay tuned for a future blog post!). Kate and Michela focused their work at Ibulanku and Lubira health centers, and were particularly interested in determining how to implement changes at Lubira that would facilitate better organization and the improvement of health care delivery. Ultimately, SAFE hopes to start the eRanger program at Lubira health center, but before this can be done, it must be ensured that the health center will be able to  support the program, and this will be done by remedying a few problems.

Kate and Michela met with Cecilia, one of the midwifes at Lubira, and discussed some of the challenges the health center faced, including a lack of supplies, understaffing, poor lighting in the Labor and Delivery Ward (as a result of a theft of the solar unit), and security, to name a few.

Building a temporary outhouse for the midwives at Lubira
Lubira attempts to move towards solutions to these problems, but a health center is only backed by the community which is serves. In order to provide better services to the community, Lubira and the community must work together to ensure an organized and supportive institution is place. And SAFE is happy to say that this is just what is happening!

During a subsequent meeting with community group leaders, Kate and Michela learned that the community had raised funds on their own, and with those funds had purchased curtains, an infant resuscitation table, a weighing scale for mothers, and a new control panel for the solar unit at Lubira. With all this great new equipment, however, group leaders expressed concern about the safety and security of these items and stressed the importance of improving Lubira's security measures.

Tidying up the garden around Lubira
This is where SAFE comes in. Kate and Michela organized a plan for Lubira staff to complete a daily check of the equipment and to keep a detailed written record of their findings to maintain a keen level of awareness of the valuable items in the health center.

A few days later, in celebration of these positive steps towards a more secure and effective health center, excited community members cleaned the labor and delivery ward, trimmed shrubbery on Lubira's property, and formally presented the donated items to the health center. They also hung the curtains in the ward, providing more privacy to mothers in labor.

SAFE is hopeful that these small but effective community projects will help attract more women to Lubira health center to deliver their babies. Eventually, as Lubira's organization and reputation builds as more improvements are made, the eRanger program will have the support it requires at to be implemented at Lubira and to provide a sustainable system of transport for more women in labor.

Small steps amount to big steps!

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