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Amref Health Africa in Uganda

Midwife Marion Tumuhimbise a defender of women rights

Marion Tumuhimbise graduated with a diploma in midwifery in 2012 at the Nsambya nurses training school, a very joyful and jubilant Marion poses for a photo in bliss, freely with no objection as she sighs with relief, “Long live Amref, long live E-learning program for you made it possible for me to upgrade to diploma level which has tremendously eased my work as a midwife”

This is the kind of expression midwives give when approached to show their gratitude for the E-learning program that has helped many become skilled midwives hence demonstrating their skills in saving lives at birth wherever they are working just like Marion testifies. This has been possible due to technological advancements especially with the E-learning program.

Uganda has 7 midwives for every 1000 live births, a new report from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The report, titled “The State of the World’s Midwifery 2011,” attributes this ratio to a general shortage in midwifery tutors as well as students, which leads to shortages in the personnel in health facilities and as a result, a midwife in Uganda conducts between 350-500 deliveries per year, which is more than twice the 175 deliveries per year, per midwife as recommended by the World Health Organization. This is a clear indication that Uganda needs more support in this area to have more midwives trained to have quality deliveries at all facilities and hence achieving quality health care for Ugandans.

It is been a long way but Ebenezer, an e-learning journey that is so interesting, makes me joyful at the same time. Having got my first born at the age of 18, I had little knowledge of how I could really make it in life, I enrolled for midwifery at Nsambya hospital, graduated in 2005 and began work at Rubaga hospital. With my family growing, my husband lost his job and life became worse, with all the desire to enroll for a diploma in midwifery, it looked impossible but heard about e-learning at Nsambya School of comprehensive nursing and midwifery and applied, I graduated with a diploma in 2012 and by then I was a mother of four children. Today am a graduate and my professionalism has caught the eyes and attention of many organizations, am currently working in a refugee camp in Adjumani, my salary was tripled from what I used to get and life is so good, I have been able to exhibit professionalism and hence helping mothers deliver well. I remember at the camp, I was called from leave to attend to a 17 year old mother (Rose Kideni) who had given birth but got a tear on the cervix and nobody noticed it, the mother was internally bleeding and almost passing on, but I was able to discover the problem and revived her life, fed her, transferred to an examination bed and called a doctor who repaired the cervix, the mothers’ life was saved. It is possible due to the skills I acquired through e-learning, thanks to Amref Health Africa.

Marion Tumuhimbise is a midwife every mother would like to have at the point of delivery, but they are very few like her in Uganda, professional, skilled, very knowledgeable and with outstanding drive and confidence, she is motivated to be the best midwife she can be. But she cannot be everywhere in the country, there is need to train more to diploma level in midwifery.

Amref Health Africa is aware that one of the challenges that cuts across in midwifery is the low staffing levels in every midwifery department at every health facility in Uganda and even some of those present are not skilled enough to give quality health care and yet they are at the heart of deliveries in Uganda. Marion testified that she has so far recommended 12 midwives to join the e-learning program to get the skills to reduce on the maternal mortality rate. It is therefore imperative to have adequate numbers of midwives in all health facilities to improve skilled attendance at birth and reduce the high maternal and perinatal mortality in Uganda. Currently Uganda has a ratio of 1 midwife to 500 women in a year. It is the realization of the role that midwifery plays in saving lives of women and new borns that Amref Health Africa has prioritized training of midwives in Uganda.

Amref Health Africa aims to train 3000 midwives in the next 5 years between 2019 and 2023 and this number will go a long way in meeting current deficit for midwives across the country. Amref Health Africa renews its commitment to work hand in hand with the government, development partners and civil society organizations to;

  1. Support the Ministry of Health in equipping the health work force with special attention to numbers of midwives in Uganda and its impact on maternal and child health and develop strategies for improvement.
  2. Partner with midwifery regulator bodies and training institutions to continue building skills of practicing midwives through innovative training approaches that do not take midwives away from their places of work for too long.
  3. Create awareness to the MOH and facility in-charges to understand the e-learning program better to allow the midwives take on this course for skills development wherever they are.
  4. Sensitization drive to create awareness that e-learning program is not less the recommended curriculum content as it has been perceived by many facility administrators and employers
  5. Work closely with midwifery associations and training institutions to advocate for improved coverage, equity and quality of maternal and child health services.

Amref Health Africa would like to ask you to support this initiative of innovative training by sponsoring a midwife achieve this professional course through e-learning. We need more midwives like Marion Tumuhimbise if more women and new borns are to be delivered alive. Help make a difference and improve the quality of maternity care in Uganda.