Nearly 20 mothers die every day, in Uganda, due to pregnancy-related causes. This is more pronounced in hard-to-reach areas like Karamoja, where maternal mortality rates are at estimated 750 per 100,000 live births.
Despite the recent recruitment of midwives for all Level III Health Centres, the lack of lighting has continued to present a challenge at the work places. UNICEF has responded to this challenge by procuring 50 solar suitcases for sustainable provision of lighting to improve and encourage delivery at health facilities. UNICEF has donated 53 solar suitcases to benefit 37 health facilities in seven districts of Karamoja.
“We are very excited about this new equipment. We have been using our phones to conduct deliveries at night,” says Night, a midwife from Karamoja. “Unlike other regions, Karamoja region is particularly disadvantaged to the extent that kerosene lanterns are not used in Health facilities because of lack of paraffin in the districts.”
Training midwives to use the innovative suitcase is underway. “Now that we have a good number of midwives in the district and VHTs (Village Health Teams) mobilizing mothers, we the midwives will feel comfortable conducting deliveries at night with solar installed in our facilities,” she concludes.