The Mennonite Central Committee, Uganda (MCC) was delighted with Reach Out Mbuya Community Health Initiative (ROM) for improving the day to day lives of expectant and breastfeeding mothers.
The MCC project aims at providing expectant and breastfeeding mothers with maternal and child health care services has been implemented at ROM since 2021 So far, 180 of the 350 mothers targeted have been enrolled.
During a field visit to the facility, the three-member team led by Mr. Fred Bobo, the Country Director appreciated ROM for always supporting the mothers right from pregnancy to postnatal stage.
Meeting at ROM Kinnawataka site, the team engaged in a discussion with ROM staff on how the project has improved the lives of the beneficiaries. It was highlighted that so far, majority of the mothers have received services including antenatal care, hygiene and sanitation, information on nutrition, and prevention of gender-based violence among others. They also briefly interacted with some the mothers who had turned up for their scheduled training on gender-based violence.
Later, ROM staff led by Dr. Gertrude Namale, the Medical Services Manager led the MCC representatives to the beneficiaries’ community where they held a focus group discussion with fifteen mothers. At the meeting, the mothers showed utmost appreciation for ROM’s contribution in their lives. Testimonies poured in as both expecting and nursing mothers shared their experience of care under MCC. Many were thankful for the services they have always received from MCC which have improved their daily lives. For the expectant mothers, a mama kit which includes cotton, a pair of gloves, soap and much more is given, plus a little money as transport fare to hospital at the time of delivery.
Angella Lamwor (not real name) could not hide her joy at the sight of ‘the MCC people’ as she referred to them. “I am very happy for what ROM is doing in my life. I received a mama kit, soap and cotton wool. ROM even took me for a scan free of charge. That would not be possible for me in normal circumstances.” She said.
When asked about how ROM has positively impacted on their lives in terms of improved nutrition, hygiene and life in general, a number of mothers were eager to share their experience. Catherine, a 21-year-old expectant mother said, “Before I came to ROM, I didn’t know the correct lying position for me as a pregnant woman. But now they have taught me how and I can lie down comfortably.” Catherine added that she did not know how to wash her hands after using the toilet, but now she does.
She also recalls a time when she would eat five times a day but without observing a balanced diet guideline. Catherine is so happy that ROM has taught her the right feeding, including breaks of water and juice and she now feels healthy.
It was interesting listening to pregnant mothers passionately inspiring others to continue attending trainings at ROM. One of them confessed having intentionally sent away those who wanted to educate her about hygiene. Nevertheless, she is proud of Lillian Akot, a Mother-to-Mother supporter at ROM who has slowly made her like hygiene and sanitation sessions. “Lillian is blessed because I didn’t chess her the way I did to the others. I would never listen to them telling me to put in place a small jerrycan of water and soap for washing my hands after using the toilet. After all I did not even have the money to buy it.” She said while laughing.
The team concluded the field visit with a tour to three of the beneficiaries’ homes in Acholi Quarters, in Nakawa Division. Jalia, whose home was visited first expressed gratitude to ROM and MCC for the support they give to her. She revealed that previously, she would never go for any antenatal check-up but after enrolling at ROM, she was taught that she needed this whenever she is pregnant. “The first time I went for a medical check-up, I was diagnosed with Hepatitis B. A doctor at ROM referred me to Mulago Hospital and that is when my husband got to know about it. He now accompanies me to the hospital and I have never missed any appointment.” Jalia Said.
Mr. Kakungulu, the Program Manager at MCC encouraged the mothers to always follow their doctors’ instructions and apply the knowledge acquired so as to live up to their expectations.
Dr. Gertrude thanked the visitors for sparing time to come and meet our beneficiaries, especially in the community.
ROM medical team sharing with the visitors during a site tour at Kinnawataka