Celebrating our midwives on this international day of the midwife

Celebrating our midwives on this international day of the midwife

According to the World Health Organisation, nurses and midwives play a vital role in providing health services: “These are the people who devote their lives to caring for mothers and children; giving lifesaving immunizations and health advice; looking after older people and generally meeting everyday essential health needs. They are often, the first and only point of care in their communities.”

As we mark the 2020 international day of the midwife, we celebrate some of the midwives among the many that we have worked with in Uganda’s South Eastern region where we have been involved in several maternal, newborn and child health implementation projects.

Annette Kanyunyuzi

Annette Kanyunyuzi , Jinja Regional Referral Hospital

Annette is a registered midwife with a Master’s degree in Nursing Science. She has 30 years of experience working in different hospitals in Uganda including Masaka regional referral hospital and Mulago national referral hospital prior to joining Jinja regional referral hospital. She currently serves as the area manager obstetrics and gynecology in Jinja. She has been actively engaged in different maternal and newborn health studies run by our Centre like the PTBi study where she has been supporting other midwives through mentorship and PRONTO training. Moreover, Annette has been actively involved in initiatives saving mothers and babies like the International Confederation of Midwives, LARRAN in partnership with Manchester University and participated in a module learning at Bethel University in the United States of America during Masters’ studies where she attained a skillset she passes on to her colleagues.

Annette’s current role entails overseeing the care for mothers and babies, department planning, training of nursing students Jinja -being a training institution- and mentorship. In future, driven by her passion for change, Annette wants to become a nursing consultant with interest in respectful maternity care, support research and evidence-based care and quality improvement.

Annette believes more mothers and babies will be saved if the 3 (delay in decision to seek care, delay in reaching care, delay in receiving adequate health care) delays are addressed collectively and adequately.

Parting shot: “I urge fellow midwives to serve with respect, integrity and passion despite all the hardships because our rewards come from God and fulfilled by the results of more live babies and mothers.”

Maburuka Anguparu, Jinja Regional Referral Hospital

Fondly referred to as mother of prematures, Maburuka is a registered midwife with a diploma in public health with 29 years of experience in neonatal nursing. Presently, she is in charge of the neonatal unit of Jinja Regional Referral Hospital where she has worked most of her career life.

Maburuka is passionate about neonatal care which led her into different exchange and training programs in China and Japan acquiring skills in caring for mothers and newborn babies. She has been key in a number of intervention studies and some of these are run by our Center of Excellence for Maternal Newborn and Child Health including the maternal newborn scale-up (MANSCALE) and preterm birth initiative (PTBi) projects as a mentor for her fellow nurses and midwives across the country.

Maburuka Anguparu

She commends the projects for the great work done in Busoga region and Uganda at large. As an in charge besides mentoring other health providers, Maburuka makes sure the unit has enough supplies and human resource, the ward rounds have been done by the people responsible and also oversees what other nurses are doing in the neonatal unit.

Her retirement plan involves improving knowledge in neonatal care and working as a neonatal nurse independently supporting families with preterm babies because these babies deserve to live and they make me really happy.

“I feel really happy when I meet those small babies as adults, pre-terms are very brilliant and they make us proud. Because of this, as midwives we should be proud of our profession and put respectful maternity care and the forefront of our service because it defines who we are,” she says.

Maburuka envisions an emergency ready kind of health system for Uganda. Moreover, she encourages those that are at the start of their career to pick interest in caring from preterm and sick babies because it is important and most pre-terms are “brilliant”. She wishes all nurses and midwives a blameless international day of the midwife.

Agnes Batani

Agnes Batani, Iganga Hospital

Agnes is a registered midwife with a diploma in pediatric nursing from Jinja school of Nursing and a diploma in midwifery from Mulago School of Nursing and Midwifery. She has 33 years of experience working in different districts in Uganda like Bududa and Soroti districts prior to joining Iganga Hospital. She currently works at the maternity ward heading the maternal newborn and child health department of Iganga Hospital. Her role on the ward involves supervision, mentorship and training of students at the institution. Agnes has supported numerous studies conducted by our Centre and these include Uganda Newborn Study, Maternal Newborn Scale-Up and the Preterm Birth Initiative and now working on OMWANA project.

She commends all these projects for the great work and enabling environment for her to acquire skills in line with per passion and career. In future, she wants to open up maternity home to extend services to the people of Iganga because it is her passion alongside poultry farming to facilitate her financial needs. Agnes believes that once there is change in training of midwives and regulation of mushrooming nursing training schools, the country’s health system will be better than it is currently. In her observation nursing has been a failures course for those that failed UNEB exams in S.4 and above so the government needs to look into this and most importantly employ qualified tutors.

A word of advice to midwives: “We should take our profession at heart and serve from inside out to save mothers and babies because that is where our reward lays.”

Maureen Babine

Maureen Babine, Iganga Hospital

Maureen works heads the special care unit of Iganga hospital. She is a nursing officer and midwife with a diploma in midwifery. Maureen has a 27-year experience as a midwife where she has supported other nurses and midwives working in public and private facilities.

Along her journey in midwifery, she has worked on a number of public health projects including those that are run by the center like the Uganda Newborn Study, Maternal Newborn Scale-Up and the Preterm Birth Initiative where she has received skills and got opportunity to use newborn care equipment & technology.

As a neonatal nurse she supports mothers and sick babies in the community. In future she wants to continue with newborn care by setting up a nursing home to extend maternity services to the people. She urges the government to strengthen their partnership with development actors in order to improve the country’s health system because this comes with quality improvement and capacity building.

Mary Margret Amongin, Kamuli General Hospital

Mary currently works at the Antenatal Clinic of Kamuli general hospital. She has an advanced Diploma in Health service management and a Diploma in Midwifery from Mulago school of Nursing and Midwifery. She has worked as midwife for 18 years and supports mothers who come to the hospital with health education, book the mothers’ history, examine them, address minor side effects and refers those with major complications.

Mary on duty speaking to a mother

Where need arises, Mary supports the maternity ward where she delivers an average of 300 babies annually for all the time, she has been a midwife. She is grateful for the support she received from the PTBi study PRONTO training and she wishes midwifery institutions in Uganda could adopt this approach because she has benefited a lot and is passing the skills to other midwives who did not get an opportunity to benefit from the study directly.

Mary enjoys making friends and reading articles in line with her career to improve work knowledge. In future she intends to open up a facility to extend services to the community because there is a great need especially in Kamuli because she is passionate about her work too.

“I am always happy when I see a mother and baby leave the hospital alive and happy. Just like myself, I am very sure many other midwives feel the same way. Let us keep the hard work and support mothers all over the world.”

She envisions a health system where supplies are not limited, people have trust in government facilities and no deaths of mothers and newborns to minor complications. Mary is happy that she supports mothers bring life to the world and thanks all the nurses and other frontline providers for the great support they render to mothers and wishes them a great international day of the midwife.

Rosemary Mpawuliba

Rosemary Mpawuliba, Kigandalo Health Centre IV

Rosemary started working as volunteer midwife at Mayuge Health Centre in 2004 where she later became a staff member. She has a diploma in midwifery from Mengo school of Nursing and Midwifery and currently working as a Nursing officer at Kigandalo HCIV since 2013. Prior to working at Kigandalo HCIV, Rosemary worked with Kitiyerera HCIV for 7 years. On estimate she supports mothers deliver babies and the numbers can go up to 400 babies a year.  She is very grateful for taking this career path in life because bringing life to the world makes her feel like a heroin.

She is currently super heading s and sensitizing mothers about the pandemic and how best they can protect themselves and their families. From the presidential guidelines stopping public transport use, Rose Mary appealed to the authorities to allow mothers in labor to at least use boda bodas to hospital since ambulances are few and those that are available require fueling and she was happy this was effected.

Rosemary wants to increase her knowledge in midwifery by attaining a degree in midwifery so that she can continue saving lives and currently she is actively looking for scholarship. She wishes the health system procurement would involve nurses because they are at the forefront of the services and they are more aware of what is needed on ground and most importantly there is need for them to be well motivated. She extends her sincere gratitude to all nurses and other health providers for extending services to the people and wishes them a beautiful international day of the midwife.

Damalie Mwogererwa, Mulago Specialised Women and Neonatal Hospital

Damalie is a registered Midwife and has worked at the Mulago National Referral Hospital’s Neonatal ward for 19 years. She has over the years morphed into a specialized neonatal, mentor and trainer both at national and international level.

She has gained advanced knowledge in neonatal nursing with support from overseas health volunteers with the University of California San Francisco being the latest where she has acquired a lot knowledge on neonatal care and mentorship under the East Africa Preterm Birth Initiative.

Damalie speaking to mothers at Iganga Hospital

She has attended numerous expert exchange programs in different countries including United States of America, Egypt and Kenya. Due to her passion for neonatal care she has participated in mentoring other midwives on different intervention research projects run by the Centre for Maternal Newborn and Child Health at Makerere University School of Public Health. She has been a pillar in both the preterm birth initiative (PTBi) and the maternal and newborn scale-up (MANSCALE) studies where she was a mentor and still mentoring other midwives in Kamuli general hospital, Iganga hospital, Buluba mission hospital, Kamuli mission hospital, Bugiri hospital, Jinja regional referral hospital and recently identified a need to support midwives in Naguru hospital.

Damalie’s roles include: reviewing of neonatal programs, updating colleagues on the latest knowledge in line with neonatal care informed by the courses she takes online, supporting most mothers with postnatal depression especially those that have lost their babies, supporting mothers in caring for preterm and very sick babies because she has been a victim and a candidate to this and right now on the frontline protecting the babies from contracting the deadly COVID 19.

She wants to continue supporting health providers acquire skills for neonatal care and also appeals to hospital leaders to curb the nurse nomadism challenge because people lose out on their passion since they keep being switched from one department to another.  Damalie believes this will reduce mortality among mothers and newborns.

Compiled by Hilda Namakula.