Access to maternal health care comes up time and time again in many health reports in reducing maternal mortality in a resource poor setting. The population of women accessing Azur Health Centre come from many afar villages, often walking for miles.

Research has shown that referrals which are made too late are due to either delay in access to transport or due to the cost of transport and women not having financial ownership.

MAMA was delighted to receive a very generous donation from a dear friend who wishes to remain anonymous to support these women to access health care. So MAMA brought the vehicle and made some alterations to custom the needs of emergency transfers and had MAMA signs made by Matt from Vision Signs so communities would know who we are.

The vehicle is used to retrieve women from outreach villages who may be in obstructed labour, or require antenatal admission following an outreach or just in need of urgent hospital care.

We have on-call drivers who are ready for such emergencies alongside our midwives.  We also use the vehicle to retrieve women from neighbouring villages when conducting outreaches. We sound the car horn and the women see the MAMA sign and they know to come and receive Midwifery care.

The use of the vehicle and drivers is solely funded by MAMA.

Here is a video of part of the route down to reach Runga and some images of the road conditions in and around Hoima:

Since having the vehicle from June 2017, it has made a big difference in availability, safety and awareness of preparation around access to care.  We discuss transportation with our pregnant mothers and advise them to think about how they’ll access midwifery care when the time comes and the possibility of needing a referral to a health centre like Azur.

Future thoughts are around other modes of transport like ‘boda bodas’ (motorbikes) and boats, as the outreach villages MAMA serve thus far, are found upon the shore lines of Lake Albert and in the wet season these are often impassable by vehicle.

Harriet Ivey

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