20 Dec. 2012
In August 2012, our Executive Director journeyed to rural Uganda to assess the status of maternal health in the Ntungamo District. Over the course of a month long visit for ARH, Francoise R. Kauzya, conducted interviews of medical and clinical staff, spoke at length with expectant women and new mothers and reviewed clinics, hospitals and other medical facilities in Uganda.
Heading into the Rural Communities
Committed to documenting the status of pregnant woman first hand, Mrs. Kauzya crisscrossed the Ntungamo District in southwest Uganda. Driving the rural, bumpy, dusty roads of Ntungamo in a small jeep, Mrs. Kauzya suffered the same problem that many women in rural Uganda face when trying to access quality medical care – insufficient infrastructure. The condition of roads in rural Uganda make it very hard to get to and from health clinics in a cost-effective and timely manner.
ARH’s in-country team, Tushabe Gregory, Birungi Jane and Nuwagaba Tumusiime, joined Mrs. Kauzya as the team met with potential partners, engaging in community outreach and empowering the local Village Health Teams. These Village Health Teams play an integral role in the overall health of the rural community. ARH conducted interviews to establish their immediate needs (such a lack of boots, raincoats, umbrellas and more) and took steps to address some of those needs through the donation of supplies. We also spent time educating the Village Health Teams on matters of maternal and reproductive health.
During the course of our conversation with the Village Health Team, we received feedback about the gaps in the delivery of quality health care to the rural communities. More concerning, we heard concerns that some clinics and hospitals are not accurately reporting deaths and treatment numbers in reproductive and maternal health cases.
Raising Awareness on the Radio
We are delighted to report that ARH took our message to the airwaves, talking reproductive and maternal health, and answering questions on this important topic, on a radio talk show on Radio Ankole (99.3FM). Radio Ankole broadcasts over the Ntungamo District.
During the course of the in-country study, Mrs. Kauzya was joined by two ARH interns. Aliane Rutaganira, from the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, and Olivia Orta, from Hunter College School of Public Health traveled to Uganda to help ARH coordinate its study. At ARH, we are grateful to both Aliane and Olivia for their generous and insightful contributions to our efforts.
Reporting to the Ugandan Government
Following the collection of research information, Mrs. Kauzya has produced a brief report about the status of maternal and reproductive health in rural Uganda. She has previously shared various findings of this report with the Minister of Health in Uganda, along with ARH’s partners.
ARH’s Country Director, Dr. Denis Kinene, presented ARH’s community findings to the Ugandan Parliament’s Social Service Committee. Dr. Kinene highlighted the concerns raised in ARH’s report and detailed its next steps as an organization.