Author: White Ribbon Alliance

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Why Men’s Involvement in Safeguarding Maternal Health Is Critical!

This post was written by Elman Nsinda, journalist and maternal health advocate, White Ribbon Alliance Uganda (nsindae (at ) gmail.com) In Uganda, 17 women and 106 newborns die every day due to complications related to pregnancy and child birth. Unfortunately, the causes of these deaths are clearly known and could be averted if each of the parties responsible played their part. The causes of death include: Severe bleeding, sepsis, obstructed labor, Hypertensive Disorders among others, exacerbated by delays at both community and at facility levels. Pregnancy comes as a result of a moment of enjoyment by a couple; man and woman. This means therefore that the two are equally responsible for the outcome and the results whether negative or positive, should be equally shared by the two. The death of a woman as result of complications related to pregnancy and child birth, leaving the husband to remarry, will justifiably show injustice to the woman. I am a father of two, and during pregnancy for the two children, I provided good food for the mother’s nutrition, …

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Midwife By Choice, Not By Chance

This post was written by George Nkhoma. My name is George Nkhomo and I work as a nurse and midwife in the rural district of Chitipa in Malawi.  I grew up as a house boy, not knowing my real family. Then, after searching for my roots I learned that my mother died while giving birth to me. At that point I knew I wanted to do something to help other mothers and ultimately decided to become a midwife. I have been committed to make a difference for other mothers and babies ever since. Malawian Midwives are among the most passionate and hardworking midwives in the world. In my District, most health centres operate with one midwife per facility. Most of these are dual qualified, which means they single handedly deliver all nursing and midwifery services to the whole catchment population. This means that providing services day and night, all month round, all year round is entirely his or her call. I am yet to know of another profession – in Malawi or beyond – that …

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A Mother’s Keynote Address to Canadian Parliament

This speech was given by Faridah Luyiga Mwanje, Communication Officer with White Ribbon Alliance in Uganda, to the Canadian Parliament today, on the International Day of the Midwife.  I stand before you today as a woman, as a mother, as a citizen of Uganda and an advocate for reproductive health and rights. I am happy and honoured to be here, but a few years ago I never would have imagined that I would come to Canada to thank the Canadian Government and Canadian organizations for their continued investment in the health of women and children globally – and specially to talk about the realities faced by adolescents in my country. But my life changed forever when my own sister, Remie Wamala, died in childbirth in 2013. She bled to death at a hospital in Kampala leaving behind a heartbroken husband and four children. Her baby, my nephew, Lucky Wamala survived but suffered brain damage. Remie was only one of the 17 mothers and 106 newborns who still die every day during childbirth in Uganda. My sister was a mature married woman who worked for the government on …

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From Despair to Hope

Midwife and citizen journalist Philomena Okello from Uganda’s Lira District describes her journey as an advocate with White Ribbon Alliance. I have grown up seeing pregnant mothers and newborns being ‘sentenced to death’ for reasons that could have been prevented. The pain of seeing pregnant women and newborns die became a thorn in my flesh and deep inside me, I felt there should be some contribution I can make to humanity to prevent this.” This was worsened by the fact that I have seen so many pregnant women coming to the hospital to give birth, expecting to go back with bouncing babies. But instead they end up in a coffin, or if the mother happens to survive, too often she goes back home with her dead baby. On one occasion, a woman died leaving her three-day old baby for me to care for. She had no hope for living, having been rejected by her husband, family members and the community. All that was because it was revealed that she was HIV positive. Enough was enough. …

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The Trauma of Stillbirths: A Midwife’s Story

By Kasule Ahmed, White Ribbon Alliance Uganda “A stillbirth always traumatizes all of us: the midwife who wants to help the mother to successfully give birth to her child, and the mother who carries the pregnancy for a long time only to hear that her child is dead. As midwife and a mother, it makes me feel very bad.” These are the words of Najjuma Kalule, a midwife in the Mityana District of Uganda. In Mityana Hospital where she works, 600 babies are born every month and of that number, between 10 and 20 are stillborn, with never a chance to take even a single breath. “All midwives hate dealing with stillbirths,” says Kalule, “because of the deep feeling of discouragement it gives us. Some midwives – especially the junior ones – tend to refer such cases to their seniors, since the process recommended for handling a stillbirth case is quite long and needs extra supervision of a mother, including choosing the right words to comfort the mother.” Kalule says that once it’s clear that the …