Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Whoa, Maama!

Ninsiima Judith just gave birth to a healthy 9-lb boy. Ninsiima is one of several hundred women in Ruhiira, a village in Southwestern Uganda, to give birth in a health institution. She delivered her previous children at home with the assistance of traditional midwives because health institutions lacked the essentials.

This is now changing rapidly. Ruhiira has placed child and maternal mortality among its highest priorities and is decreasing death rates dramatically. Now, thanks to a health kit disseminated by UNDP and known as the “Maama” Kit, the number of medically-supervised deliveries in Ruhiira has increased to 75%, up from 8% in December 2007. That’s 263 births per months, up from 51.

The “Maama” Kits are designed to help women deliver in clean conditions. They include baby sheets; soap; pads; gloves; a surgical blade; a sterilized chord for tying the umbilical cord and rehydration packages. The pack reduces the risk of vaginal and eye infections, tetanus and diarrhea, all of which may occur in bad hygiene conditions.