By Jason Lee (volunteer)
For the 2 weeks I’ve been with Shanti Uganda as a marketing volunteer, a reoccurring thought comes to my mind: What if Catherine, my Sister In-Law – who was pregnant and gave birth to my Niece, Juliet, this past February, was put in the same conditions as the many women of Uganda who deserve appropriate maternal care and resources but simply don’t.
Hearing stories of women having to bring their own medical supplies to hospitals, having to wait two days outside the hospital before being admitted, and needing to be discharged – regardless of your situation, a day after your delivery. This last one got to me.
Catherine was in labor for over 20 hours since Juliet was being stubborn and wouldn’t drop her head. The Doctors decided they needed to perform a caesarian. Everything went well due to the exceptional care of the medical staff at Lions Gate Hospital (located in North Vancouver), and under their expertise, advised Catherine and Juliet to stay for a minimum of two nights. So imagine Catherine having to undergo a cesarean in Malago – a hospital in Kampala, and having to be released a day after such an operation? No, it’s too terrifying to comprehend.
I know all that I’ve mentioned thus far has been grim, but it just goes to show how important Shanti Uganda is as a standard of appropriate education and care in all things maternal. Women are encouraged to attend prenatal and postnatal sessions and are treated with adequate resources from experienced and passionate midwives. Seeing teenage girls and elderly women trek for miles to come participate in Shanti’s programs and learn about topics ranging from proper nutrition to safe sex practices is beyond uplifting. I would have the utmost trust and comfort as an Uncle to have the well being of my Sister In-Law and Niece under the care of the people here at Shanti. I can only hope other maternal practices in Uganda are paying attention.