The Pain of Delivering a Life

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In the middle of our formal introductions, a midwife rushes, apologizing for ‘gate –crushing’ our meeting.

“Sr. Rosemary, we have an emergency. An expectant woman walking here to deliver has developed labour pains in the bush and can no longer walk the rest of the journey. So we have to go and evacuate her immediately.”02

“Natalina Natiyan , a first time mother got labour pains half way her journey to Nadunget Health Centre III, Moroto district. Midwives from Nadunget HCIII drove to pick her after failing to complete the 11km walk, when they were notified by a relative who ran ahead. She eventually delivered a baby boy an hour later.”

 

“Oh my,” Sr. Rosemary reacts denoting some kind of hitch.

In normal circumstances, I would have expected her to simply authorize that the ambulance depart straightway.

“Do you have a car?” Sr. Rosemary asks me. “Yes, it’s packed outside.” I curiously reply her.

“Am afraid we shall have to inconvenience you for a little while and use that car to bring in this mother quickly before she gives birth unattended to in the bush.”06

“Natalina Natiyan, got some energy to walk after she got labour pains half way her journey to Nadunget Health Centre III, Moroto district. Midwives from Nadunget HCIII (Sr. Rosemary Napeyok in white) drove to pick her after failing to complete the 11km walk, when they were notified by a relative who ran ahead. She eventually delivered a baby boy an hour later.”

 

Now was not a time to ask silly questions. I duly obliged with another “yes” for an answer and off we set off for a combined 20km drive.

“You know we have an ambulance provided with the support of UNFPA but we have no fulltime driver,” Sr. Rosemary voluntarily tells me why she had to make such an abrupt request.

“We have had so many such emergency cases but without a driver, we have had to either improvise or look for volunteers to drive during such specific emergencies,” she explains further as we negotiated through the flat arid Karamoja landscape.

“UNFPA has done us an unbelievable favour by providing us with an ambulance. We now call upon government to get for us a fulltime driver,” Sr. Rosemary makes her plea.

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“Natalina Natiyan is admitted at Nadunget Health Centre III, Moroto district. She got labour pains halfway her journey to Nadunget Health Centre IV, Moroto district. Midwives from Nadunget HCIII drove to pick her after failing to complete the 11km walk, when a relative who ran ahead notified them. She eventually delivered a baby boy an hour later.”

 

In the bumpy ride, she tells me of the challenges of working in a remote region as Karamoja.

“This place is so cut off that service delivery becomes a problem. Making calls is a problem. Transportation in this region is a problem. The people here are cultural rigid in that accessing them with health services also faces challenges. There is also insecurity in really remote areas that we just cannot access. There are no roads and many others. There are so many problems.”

“There she is, there she is,” a second midwife suddenly interrupts our conversation, alerting us of Natalina Natiyan, a first time expectancy. We pullover and Sr. Rosemary rushes to check on Natiyan.

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” A relative takes care of Natalina Natiyan after giving birth to a baby boy. She got labour pains halfway her journey to Nadunget Health Centre III, Moroto district. Midwives from Nadunget HCIII drove to pick her after failing to complete the 11km walk, when a relative who ran ahead notified them. She eventually delivered a baby boy an hour later.”

“She’s really close but I think she can make to the hospital,” Sr. Rosemary tells me after a quick examination.

The midwives gently usher in the now screaming Natiyan into the back passenger seat.

“Driver, if we are to make it, you will have to drive a lot faster,” Sr. Rosemary tells the driver as she retreats to engaging Natiyan with a conversation of how she’s feeling, what she’s feeling, what she should do, what she should do just to distract her from attempting to push.nn

“Sr. Rosemary Napeyok, the In-Charge midwife at Nadunget Health Centre III, Moroto district walks through the Postnatal Ward of the health centre after helping deliver Natalina Natiyan.”

In no time, we were at Nadunget Health Centre III and the midwives supported her straight to the already set delivery beds.

“She has no complications and the baby is positioned well. She should be able to give birth within the hour.” Sr. Rosemary tells me as I voluntarily left the delivery ward.08

Thirty minutes later Natalina Natiyan, had a cause to celebrate. After 9 long months, she finally is a mother. A strong mother to a baby boy.

Natiyans story is one of many I encountered while shooting a photo documentary – “Investing in People” for UNFPA Uganda.

Below are a selection of images shot in seven other districts of Kanungu, Mubende, Kaabong, Kotido, Oyam, Katakwi and Yumbe  relating to reproductive health, gender based violence, teenage pregnancies,  maternal health and HIV/AIDS among others.

09An Out-of-School teen attends a reproductive health class at the Friendly Youth Corner (YFC) of Kaabong Referral Hospital. The different activities conducted at the corner have helped keep youth away from crime, reduced abortion and has enormously increased issues surrounding reproductive health according to the incharge of the YFC.

10An expectant mother waits to deliver at the Kanungu HC IV maternity ward. ALL the maternity and baby beds were supplied by UNFPA in partnership with the Ugandan government. Supply of free Mama Kits have also increased numbers of mothers willing to give birth at the Health facility.

11A midwife speaks to an expectant teenager attending antenatal classes at Aketa Health Centre III. Supply of free Mama Kits has increased numbers of mothers willing to give birth at the Health facility. Village Health Teams (VHTs) have also played a crucial part in educating rural communities on the importance of giving birth in health facilities.

12Expectant women in Aketa, just like most of others in rural Uganda have to walk for tens of kilometres to access health services- in this case, antennal classes. Supply of free Mama Kits has increased numbers of mothers willing to give birth at the Health facility. VHTs have also played a crucial part in educating rural communities on the importance of giving birth in health facilities.

ALL IMAGES ARE COPYRIGHTED TO UNFPA UGANDA. NO IMAGE MAY BE DOWNLOADED OR COPIED WITHOUT CONSENT OF EITHER UNFPA UGANDA/ GLOBAL OR EDWARD ECHWALU. Thank You.

33 thoughts on “The Pain of Delivering a Life

    • Patti, indeed. They have been giving their best. There’s still a lot more to tackle, but i guess, its a one step at a time journey. Thank you for visiting my blog too

    • Donald, thank you for making me smile. I appreciate you taking time to look through my work. A good reward enough for my effort. Thank you

    • Thank you for taking your valuable time to visit and spend sometime on my blog. You are among the reasons i do this and i would like to say thank you…thank you…thank you. I look forward to interacting with you in my future posts.

    • Brian, i appreciate the time you spent looking through the post and the blog. looking forward to more of your future visits. Cheers mate!

    • Brian, UNFPA is doing amazing contribution to our mothers. You should be proud of your association with UNFPA. Thank you for visiting my blog too.

  1. Great piece of work there, highlighting the situation our mothers go through here in Uganda, thanks for that contribution towards improving reproductive health in Uganda, Edward am inspired,

    • The situation is still dare but every little contribution towards making sure our mothers have save deliveries would do. It was more than just a documentation process for me but a learning one too. Our mothers deserve more and hopefully, this reportage indeed will touch many more out there to do something about it. Thanks for visiting my blog. Appreciate.

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