It is not okay that women, by accident of their location or circumstances, are dying in childbirth. Or, almost worse, that women are suffering obstetric fistula injuries when babies get stuck during a difficult labor that occurs in remote areas away from healthcare services. These traumas often result in the death of the baby, and the injuries leave the new mothers incontinent, ostracized by family and friends because of the smell, weakened, and unable to provide for themselves.
It is estimated that 140,000-200,000 women in Uganda currently live with obstetric fistula injuries, and that the delay between suffering the injury and receiving surgical repair is over 5 years. The crazy thing is, these injuries aren’t inevitable. We can prevent them.
We have in the United States for years. UNICEF estimates that 204 women die in childbirth in Uganda per 10,000 women, compared to only 4 per 10,000 in the United States. It’s clear that these injuries and deaths are preventable.
Together with your support, we're launching our third project to address this unacceptable situation with a program designed to make the first two projects (a fistula repair camp to offer the healing surgery to women, and a piglet microfinancing project to bolster the incomes of women after they have received the surgery) obsolete.
MPA is now offering its newest economic capacity building project in Africa, The Joy of a Healthy Pregnancy and Safe Birth.
This project is being implemented to incorporate elements of Centering Pregnancy concepts to empower circles of village women to support each other throughout pregnancy, understand the warning signs of a difficult labor, and have a plan in place for transportation to the hospital for emergency delivery.
If women can increase their chances of having a healthy pregnancy and safe birth, they can continue to be integral members of their families and village communities, and the babies who are safely delivered into the world can grow and thrive.
To get this started, we need a way to transport women in labor from remote villages to Kitovu Hospital in Masaka, Uganda, which is equipped to handle high risk births.
Our solution? A motorbike ambulance.
This motorcycle (“boda boda” means “motorcycle in the Luganda language) with elongated side car is ideal for navigating treacherous, bumpy dirt roads through the hills and ravines of rural southwestern Uganda. If the women know that they can call the hospital to dispatch a reliable, efficient vehicle to come to their aid, we can prevent obstetric fistula injuries, keep more women alive, and experience the joy of delivering more healthy babies into the world.
A typical vehicle of this type costs $6,800.00. You can help get this critical piece of the puzzle in place.