'The smile of a child is the happiness of a mother'

There is a saying in Uganda, ‘Sanyu Ly’omuzadde Kwekuseka Kwomwana’ (the smile of a child is the happiness of the mother). This is the name of our Maternal Newborn and Child Health project in two rural districts of central Uganda - Kyankwanzi and Nakaseke. 

In this remote part of Uganda, skilled delivery and antenatal care attendance are very low and the mortality rate for mothers is much higher than the national average.  To improve this - Amref Health Africa UK in partnership with Comic Relief are working with local communities to increase skilled delivery, antenatal care and post natal care among pregnant women and mothers. 
Midwife Atuhairwe Gorret is 27 years old and works at an Amref facility in the region. 
“When I was at school, I used to see people waiting in long queues at hospitals. I always wanted to be a midwife to help and to stop their suffering. I qualified in 2012. It was such a proud day. 
“This district is very poor. Sometimes mothers come in to give birth who do not have clothes for the babies. They find it hard to reach the facility, because they don’t have access to transport. They have nothing. 
“Women here are also used to giving birth at home without a midwife or a nurse and treat themselves and their babies with traditional methods like herbs, rather than medicine. This is really bad for their health. People are not used to coming to hospitals, so we have to train them that it is safer to give birth here, rather than at home. We educate that registering and immunising your baby is very important. We are also working to change men’s attitudes, because they can be skeptical and sometimes don’t take responsibility for their partners or their babies. 
“The Volunteer Health Teams are doing a great job and together, we are making a difference. We really appreciate all the support we have and things are improving. Since working here, I have never lost a baby or a mother. I hope it stays that way.”

Our impact 

  • Direct beneficiaries: 12,472
  • Indirect beneficiaries: 17,530
  • Health workers trained: 140
  • Women benefitted: 9,513
  • Children benefitted: 19,524

Uganda in numbers 

  • Population: 37.8 million
  • Number of doctors per 1000 people: 0.1
  • Maternal mortality rate (per 100,000): 360
  • Under 5s mortality rate (per 1000 live births): 66
  • nmet need for family planning (among women 15-49): 31%