About three months ago, I encouraged everyone who read my blog post to share the information therein with all the expectant Mums in their circles. I wanted as many mums as possible to get access to this information because I believe that it will contribute to the reduction of new-borne mortality rates. Shortly after 'publishing' that post, I was presented with an opportunity to practice what I was preaching. I am usually very slow at initiating any sort of conversation with a stranger...it takes a while for me to open up. This time, I felt that I would be letting myself down if I did not talk to this person! After a few minutes of debating...I introduced myself and after 'breaking the ice' I shared the information and my experience with the lady. She was grateful that I had taken time to talk to her. You should have seen my smile!! I was so excited...that was only the beginning. I have since talked to so many people. When a new mum tells me about her baby crying all night because of colic...I encourage her to seek medical attention. While it is true that newborns cry because of colic sometimes it could be something else which could be fatal if unattended.I recently encountered a mum whose joy of having a new baby was prematurely cut short! Her baby was barely a month old! The baby cried all night, developed a slight temperature in the morning and died thereafter. In her case, not even a postmortem was done to ascertain the cause of the baby's death. Such cases and many more that we never get to hear about really make me think that we need a serious change in our attitudes.
In Uganda today, there are a number of organizations working towards the reduction of new borne and maternal mortality rates.I am sure they have done a lot and probably deserve credit for the change that they have contributed to. There is however still a long way to go and I think that creating a forum that gives mothers at all levels information is one strategy that can be employed. Mothers at all levels includes those in rural and urban areas, the elite and those with minimal education. Giving them information may not be enough, they need to know that it is okay to ask a medical practitioner questions.They need to be empowered and encouraged to speak out.I strongly believe that if mothers were told what to expect at each antenatal visit and what they should expect after giving birth, they will be able to question when these things are not delivered. Our society is one where we sweep things under the carpet and create excuses for those who do not play their part. We need to move towards a society that demands for their rights! We need to engage our legislators and speak about the change that we want to see. I am convinced that something can be done to make our health system better. We should stop thinking that nothing can be done!!! The quality of our services can improve and each one of us has a part to play.Whilst having a national health insurance facility is good, a number of things need to be fixed before we can go that way. We need functional health facilities to which we can run should the need arise.
We are working on developing a forum for expectant mothers one on which they can get information, share their experiences and also be able to rate our medical facilities. We believe that this will contribute to some change! Are you an expectant mum, do you have any experience you would like to share? What information would you like to have? Please drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am eagerly waiting to hear from you!