Since I arrived in January, Sister Ernestine and I have been talking about the continuing education workshops that happen every Tuesday morning for Bishop Asili Staff. These workshops are for all of the staff who work at the clinic – midwives, nurses, counselors etc. There is one man who is responsible for coordinating the continuing education program and will be organizing and helping us lead these workshops over the next few weeks.
One of our objectives as an organization is to improve maternal and infant health in Uganda – there are many ways we address this goal, one of them being workshops and educational opportunities for existing birth professionals in the Luwero District. Our first workshop was to discuss the birth kit project with them, which is another way we work towards this goal – We assessed needs, what they believe the most essential elements are to add to the kit and how we can set the project up with the best results possible. In January, I brought all of the birth kits that were purchased by our donors in Canada so far – each one with everything a woman needs to safely birth her baby!
I went over each item with the staff – explaining its use, answering questions and getting their feedback. Bed pads, cord ties, prep pads, gloves, vitamin supplements are just a few things in our birth kits. I also brought the donated birth related books, which have been added to the previous birth books we brought in July. This growing library will be managed by George, the continuing education coordinator.
When brainstorming birth kit contents with Nikiah, who sits on our board and organizes the birth kits, we decided that it would be important to add a reusable pad to each kit. We both agreed that this would be a special gift each woman would be able to take home and use again and again – she contacted the women at Lunapads and one of their pads is now added to each kit! The midwives were thrilled at the idea of a reusable pad that wasn’t as costly as disposables and was much more secure, safe and hygienic than the rags that many women use – this can be particularly dangerous when used by a woman who has just given birth and may still be healing open wounds that then come into contact with a dirty rag – infection is common. We practiced snapping the pads into place and learning how to teach the new moms how to wash them properly.
As the workshop was taking place, there was a woman in the birth process in the birth ward – With this $15 purchase made by one donor in Canada, we used the very first Shanti Uganda Birth Kit today!