With Healthy Child Uganda Muskoka Project activities (MamaToto) coming to an end, the field team here in Uganda is as busy as ever with the end-of-project evaluation. The team has completed its qualitative data collection, with health centre assessments underway, and the household survey data collection starting in early August in Bushenyi and Rubirizi Districts.
Though data is still being collected, it has been encouraging to see results. Some of these changes are so apparent: just walking into some of the health facilities, you know the MamaToto program has been there. All of the government facilities in Bushenyi District are now painted with beautiful health promotion paintings, reminding patients and visitors about eating balanced, nutritious meals, obtaining health education from their Village Health Team (VHT), having children immunized, and the importance of hygiene and sanitation (using tippy taps and building drying racks for dishes). Many of the health facility staff are enthusiastic about the changes that have occurred in the past one to two years.
I visited Swazi HC II, a health facility that was upgraded to a HC II+, as it now conducts deliveries (generally, HC IIs do not have the capacity to conduct deliveries; mothers are usually referred to HC IIIs and up). Located in a hard-to-reach area, a midwife was posted there in the past year, providing mothers with an option to deliver at that facility, instead of traveling to a facility further away. The midwife, along with her colleagues have become very active “MamaToto” champions, developing innovative, low cost/no cost solutions to improve maternal and child care at their facility. For instance, with no book to track postnatal visits, the midwife developed her own! They have also put up a tippy tap outside of their latrine and put up their Health Facility Mission: “Good Quality Services for All.”
At another facility, Nyabubare HC III, the staff have also noted changes at their facility. They have been especially impressed with the VHTs who are supervised by their facility. The VHTs have been actively engaged at the facility, taking turns to provide health education in the importance of healthy nutrition, antenatal care, family planning, and hygiene and sanitation. VHTs also come to the facility to help clean and have even helped the facility put in flower gardens to make the place more friendly to clients. The staff even went to show me their health records indicating the deliveries have increased at the facility in the last 6 months, almost double from 16 to 30! More facilities conducted at this facility has meant that mothers are now confident in the care they receive at the facility and opting not to deliver at home- all thanks to upgrades the facility has made to their maternity wing, as well as the health education done by VHTs in their communities and at the health facilities by VHTs and health workers together.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download
I often hear these types of stories from our field team members (I don’t get to be in the field as often as I’d like), but it has been incredibly exciting to hear these stories for myself, right from the places working on the front line to improve the health of mothers and children. As we wait for more data to come in and analyze what we’ve found, our team has been reflecting on these stories and looking at how powerful engagement of communities, health facilities, and Districts has been in making these changes. We feel that that’s how these changes can be sustained: when MNCH is something that communities can own and they see that little things can make a difference, the health of mothers and children and entire communities can be transformed.
– Healthy Child Uganda Canadian Project Coordinator