A link that seeks to develop an integrated emergency response service in the Mbale region has been created between Cwm Taf Local Health Board, Wales and Mbale District Health Office, Uganda.

Improving the survival chances of new-borns

The project was established to address the lack of ambulance services to transfer patients from the rural communities to health centres. In the rural Mbale area in 2008 the maternal mortality rate was 506 per every 100,000 with only 41% of the deliveries being supervised. The under-5 mortality rate was 143 per 1000.

This link, through the training of trainers, has been reaching the communities to reduce these numbers.  200 community health workers were trained in November 2010 to build their capacity in this field. Mothers previously gave birth in their homes, but through this training midwives now have a much better understanding of the procedures.

The Link: Mbale and Cwm Taf

The capacity of the health workers has been significantly built as they can recognise and manage emergencies promptly and appropriately.

In Mbale and the newly created neighbouring districts of Manafwa and Bududa everyone is a winner: the Government because decentralised health care is being addressed; the partner through shared experiences; the health workers who have been trained and received some equipment; and most especially the ordinary person in the village, who not only has a very high chance of getting emergency response during a crisis but is being taught about basic primary health care.

Making a difference

Dr Geodfrey, a team Leader in the BSIU community, alongside 89 other health workers, participated in the training provided by the link: “Prior to the intervention, communities would drink water without boiling it first - we taught them about the simple but important procedures of processing water. We received enough knowledge and skills from the training and this link has ensured we are where we are now.’

A new mother commented: ‘I was brought here to give birth but the procedure took longer, and I was unable to deliver from here. I received support and medication and the ambulance then took me to Mbale.”

Fred Chemuko, the jovial, charismatic Link coordinator, in his own words said that the project “is beyond a success.”  There is every reason for Fred to continue smiling as the project continues to make differences in the lives of the people from Eastern Uganda.

IHLFS Team, British Council Uganda