Stories From Our Partners and Beneficiaries

Babies and Mothers Alive Program

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Pamela Watuwa, Resident District Commissioner, Kyotera District

Our country is struggling to reduce preventable deaths of pregnant women and their new born babies. We need competent and motivated health professionals, availability of essential resources such as medicines and supplies. We also need functional referral systems between levels of care. Our district is privileged to partner with the BAMA Program, which is committed to close the major gaps in the health system so as to prevent these avoidable deaths. We are determined to act towards any reports that come to our office in order to achieve the program objectives.

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Nansubuga Teo: Midwife Lwamaggwa Health Center III

We have been using the one building for almost all services, for instance we use some rooms for staff to sleep in, that is where we also attend to women who come for antenatal and maternity care including delivery. The health of staff is compromised because of the conditions staying and even cooking within the confines of a ward. I am excited about the new facility because it will create space for dignified care to our clients and allow us to keep them for longer monitoring and observation.

The mothers are also very appreciative of the items we are providing them through the program like the basins and soap which is a good package for them as they go home from here. They always use the basins specifically to cater for the baby.

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A Healthy New Mother and Her Baby

This is my 6th child and I have always delivered from this health facility, Lwamaggwa Health Center III, but this time was different, I came in at 2am and the midwife kept on checking on me throughout the night until I delivered. I was so happy when I received a basin and soap from BAMA, they have really improved standards of midwives, and are now they are even constructing a new maternity ward for us.

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Robinah Nagujja: A Midwife at Kifamba Health Center III

I have been a midwife for over 38 years but I have been in Kifamba for 10 years. I appreciate BAMA because it has improved my skills so much. By the time I was trained, the terms were different from what they are now. It has been good for me to get the refresher trainings from BAMA on handling emergencies like PPH and also how to handle breech deliveries. I even received a mother who was presenting a breech delivery and because of the training I had received I was able to use the different techniques to deliver her baby and they were both fine. Before the training I would have to ask a doctor for assistance or refer the mother early to another hospital.

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Nakitto Molly: A Midwife at Kibanda Health Center III

While on duty one time, I received a mother who was complaining of labor-like pains. On examination, I realized she was already in active labor. I monitored her systematically until she delivered but the baby came out distressed and was asphyxiated, the mother was worried and kept asking if her baby was okay. Since I had recently been to a refresher training, I was able to resuscitate the baby and within 10 minutes the baby was fine. The mother and baby were discharged the next day while both in good health. I am so grateful to Brick by Brick because in addition to training me, my facility received equipment for delivery and resuscitation from the BAMA program and I am able to work to save lives of mothers and babies.

A Mother, a Midwife and a Taxi Driver Speak About the Challenges Faced by Women in Labor

Nabakomeko Max: Mother of 1-year-old daughter: For my first pregnancy, I walked to the health centre and by the time I got there we tried in vain but my baby was too big. We were told to go to the hospital in Kalisizo but finding a boda(motorcycle taxi) driver was so hard and he took long. We had to travel with four people on the motorcycle and yet I could feel my baby coming. By the time we reached the hospital, they tried all they could but we lost the baby because he had become distressed.

For my second baby, I moved to the health centre as soon as I felt pains. I still walked there. When I arrived, the BAMA-trained midwife checked on me and when she realized I wouldn’t be able to deliver from there, she called the ambulance from Kalisizo Hospital and they came and took us to the hospital. The midwife was with me and escorted me up to the hospital and was there until I delivered.

Jackie Kobusingye Midwife at Kirumba HCIII: We have between 20-25 deliveries at the health center and we try our best. Most challenges come at night when mothers come after midnight in most cases after failing to deliver from the villages. They always complain of long distances to health centers, making them opt for nearby traditional birth attendants. They often have complications which we cannot handle at our facility level and have to refer them to Kalisizo Hospital. When I fail to get the ambulance it’s a struggle to get transport because the boda (motorcycle taxi) drivers don’t operate late at night and also live far from town, so sometimes I have to ask an attendant to escort me to go and call the nearby boda riders from their homes. This also becomes expensive for the mothers since it is late and not so secure for them to travel that late.

Emmanuel Ssenyonga a boda-boda rider at Kachanga stage in Kirumba: Women always find problems especially towards birth. Sometimes they call us at night to help them and the biggest issue is not being able to take them without money for fuel. The roads are also not the best so we end up riding very slowly especially when she is in labour because you can’t just hit bumps like that.

I helped about 3 women and took them to hospital just because I had the means. God helped them and they delivered well. I really would wish to help all women, but since this is the way I earn a living as well, I can’t just keep taking them for free. It is hard to maintain.”

My Pads Program

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Bashazi Norine Oliver: Student and My Pads Peer Educator at Nakasoga Secondary School

Norine joined the My Pads Program in August 2017 as a peer educator from Nakasoga Secondary School. She taught a full session about menstrual hygiene confidently to her peers. She is also known around school for teaching other students how to make reusable menstrual pads and giving advice about menstrual hygiene to younger students. She has stayed involved in the My Pads Program as the Secretary of the Nakasoga Secondary School Health Club. 

“I am in the boarding section, and my parents couldn’t afford to buy me several packets of pads. My uncle would buy one packet at the beginning of the term, which I would use for the first period, and for the next have nothing to use. One time I decided to cut up a bed sheet to use during my period, but it couldn’t absorb well so I resorted to staying in the dormitory. Ever since the sessions started, I can save money from pocket money since there is no need for my dad to buy me pads. My classmates and I can now say that dropping out of school due to periods is not an option.”

Jamadha Hussein Jamadha: Student and Male Peer Educator at Nakassoga Secondary School

Before Brick by Brick started having sessions with us in the DREAMS program, there were so many challenges affecting our students, especially the girls. Now that I am aware, I can recall times when there was a lot of absenteeism by the girls in our class due to menstrual hygiene issues. When girls would go into their periods, sometimes they would soil their uniforms, and we boys would never be humble about it. We would always laugh and make fun, which would make the girl very ashamed. I think that made it easier for them to stay away from school during periods, but now they have skills in using reusable pads which they can make cheaply. They also taught us boys to care about the girls because back then, I could never help a girl even if she got an emergency, but now I am free and ready to support.

School Program

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Parent: St. Thereza Kajaguzo Primary School

Through our partnership with Brick by Brick, our enrollment has improved greatly from below 200 in 2014 to 400 pupils by 2017. On top of that, the performance of our students has also improved. We had no failures in the 2016 National Primary Leaving Examinations, and we expect this to improve even more. When I look around, St. Tereza is one of the best schools in our area thanks to Brick by Brick.

 

Head Teacher: St. Balikudembe Primary School

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Head Teacher: St. Balikudembe Primary School

We had only four old fashioned and outdated buildings, but when we received assistance from Brick by Brick, we sat down and made a memorandum of understanding so that 25% was contributed by the community and 75% was contributed by Brick by Brick. We are happy that now the building has been completed.