Newsletter 3: 16th March 2022
We are delighted to share our long overdue third newsletter, which outlines the many projects that have been keeping Sofia and the team in Hoima extremely busy. Sofia tells us she is returning to the UK in April with all manner of new skills, including used car saleswoman!
Borehole for Kyarushesha
Thanks to funding and organization from the CEED Trust, a borehole has been dug at our Kyarushesha clinic. The clinic is equipped with rainwater harvesting, but the borehole means we don’t need to purchase water in the dry season. It is also for use by the local primary school, with more than 400 pupils.
Solar for Kyarushesha
Thanks to Mike Rosenberg at Solare Energy, and a generous private donation, a state-of-the-art solar system has been installed at the Kyarushesha clinic. This ensures round the clock provision of electricity in a green and sustainable way, and means we are not subject to the vagaries, or cost, of the mains electricity supply in this remote location.
New MAMA Vehicle
Five years ago MAMA was able to purchase a 1992 Toyota Hilux to provide essential transport for emergency referrals from our Runga, and later Kyarushesha, clinics, as well as transporting staff and resources, including clean water. Whilst this vehicle has been quite literally life-saving, at nearly 30 years old and with a mileage of over 250,000km on the clock, our precious ‘Mzee’ (old man in Swahili) was beginning to struggle. An extremely generous gift from a donor who prefers to remain anonymous has enabled us to purchase a replacement. After some searching in Kampala by Sofia and Esau a suitable vehicle was found, and is now safely installed in Hoima.
Clinic Workloads 2021
2021 was an extremely busy year for both our clinics, with both moving to new premises. Thank you to the UK Aid Direct Small Charities Challenge Fund, The Northwood Charitable Trust, The Kitchen Table Charities Trust and numerous individual donors who make our work possible.
Kyarushesha oversaw 556 births; conducted 4666 antenatal visits; reviewed 1791 patients through the outpatients department; provided 671 people with family planning; and immunised 1376 children. There were 1557 maternity admissions, 987 general admissions, 143 pregnant referrals to Hoima town and 152 non-pregnant referrals. There were 8 stillbirths, no neonatal deaths and no maternal deaths.
Runga had 207 births; saw 1624 women for antenatal visits; reviewed 681 patients through the outpatients department; and provided 277 people with family planning. There were 273 maternity admissions, 326 general admissions, 42 pregnant referrals and 26 non-pregnant referrals. There were 3 stillbirths, no neonatal deaths and no maternal deaths.
Rotations Charity Shop 2021
We were delighted to be given the opportunity to be able to once again take over the Rotations charity shop in Whitchurch for a week in December 2021. Thank you so much to the team that made this possible. We raised an amazing £1035.
Kyarushesha Building Opening
On 21 October 2021 we were delighted to host the official opening of the new building for our Kyarushesha Clinic. The building was formally opened and blessed by Bishop Samuel Kahuma and we were thrilled to share the day with friends and colleagues from Kyangwali Health Centre, Hoima Regional Referral Hospital and Azur Health Centre. The clinic is dedicated to the memory of our dear friend and former Senior Midwife at Azur Health Centre, Emvikia Grace.
Simon and his team, with enormous hard work and input from Sofia and Esau, completed this project on track at the end of May, establishing permanent, purpose-built premises for our UKAid Direct-funded clinic. We moved in on 30 May, opening our doors the very next day. Tremendous thanks are due to The Northwood Charitable Trust, the Kitchen Table Charities Trust; an array of generous private donors; a series of ambitious fundraising activities by our supporters; as well as those who wish to remain anonymous. We couldn’t have done it without you.
In the first four months we have seen 1713 mothers for antenatal appointments and 532 people in outpatients; provided 214 people with family planning; delivered 189 babies; and made 98 emergency referrals to hospital. A report on the project completion can be found here.
Excellent progress is being made by Simon and his team, ably overseen by Sofia and Esau, to establish permanent, purpose-built premises for our UKAid Direct-funded clinic in Kyarushesha. We are on track to complete the project in mid-May. Huge thanks are due to The Northwood Charitable Trust, the Kitchen Table Charities Trust; an array of generous private donors; a series of ambitious fundraising activities undertaken by our supporters (Becks, Lucy, Duncan, Claire and Gillian); as well as those who wish to remain anonymous.
A more detailed project update can be found here.
We were delighted to have an abstract accepted for a poster presentation at the prestigious international Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists World Congress in June 2021. The abstract was also amongst those selected for publication in a special issue of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (here).
The MAMA Trustees, in conjunction with our Ugandan colleagues, are delighted, once again, to have had a poster illustrating our work accepted for Virtual International Day of the Midwife (Wednesday 5th May 2021). This time it describes the work done by our clinic in Kyarushesha, funded by the UKAid Direct Small Charities Challenge Fund. This year’s theme is ‘Birth equity for all’, a vision to which, MAMA wholeheartedly subscribes.
MAMA are absolutely delighted to receive the support of the Kitchen Table Charities Trust for a key aspect of our new Maternity Clinic building project in Kyarushesha, Uganda. Their generous grant will pay for pit latrines and wash bays, including one block specifically designed, with their help, to be disabled friendly; incinerator; kitchen; and medical waste/placenta disposal pits. Our own premises will allow us to expand and improve our services, with a larger labour ward; greater privacy for inpatients; an increase in our inpatient beds; and a larger outpatients department. Our current rental costs are a significant proportion of the monthly running cost, so this project aims to secure the clinic’s future sustainability. We truly do run the charity from our kitchen tables, so the relationship with this Trust seems especially fitting, and we would like to say a huge thanks to them and all their supporters.
A report detailing the aspects of the project they funded can be found here.
In part due to the impacts of climate change, the waters of Lake Albert are rising, and were threatening to flood the premises we lease for our Runga clinic. Therefore, we made the difficult decision to relocate, and have invested in upgrading a different property further from the lakeshore. The money spent on the necessary improvements will cover the rent for the next five years. Thanks to an incredible amount of hard work from Sofia, Barongo and the rest of the team the move was completed on 17 February 2021, with minimal interruption to our clinic services.
In January 2021 we commenced an ambitious building project to establish permanent, purpose-built premises for our UKAid Direct-funded clinic in Kyarushesha. We are working with a local construction company, which previously built our volunteer house in Hoima town, and they are making great progress. Fundraising for the project is well underway, with more than 50% of the total cost raised to date. A huge thanks is due to The Northwood Charitable Trust for supporting us in this endeavour, as well as to the multiple individuals who have donated or fundraised for us.
We have published our second newsletter, with details of our new clinic in Kyarushesha as well as details of recent fundraising ventures and an update from the Runga Clinic. It contains a feature on Sofia, the UK Project Manager for Kyarushesha and former Trustee. She is a reluctant ‘cover girl’ but after all the amazing things she has done for MAMA we could hardly overlook her.
In March 2020, thanks to a generous two-year grant from the UKAid Direct Small Charities Challenge Fund, MAMA was able to open the doors of the new MAMA Grace Clinic in Kyarushesha, helping to address UN Global Goal 3. This followed on from three years of outreach clinics in the village and a year of work behind the scenes applying to UKAid and setting up the grant, which started in February 2020. Sofia is resident in Hoima for two years as our project manager overseeing the setup, together with our Ugandan partners from Azur. It has proven to be a great success despite both the Covid-19 pandemic and a much larger workload than anticipated. You can read the UKAid press release here.
The MAMA Trustees, in conjunction with our Ugandan colleagues, have published a peer-reviewed manuscript in June 2020, which describes our experiences setting up our clinic in Runga: ‘Reducing the distance to walk: establishing a remote maternity facility in Runga, Hoima District, Uganda’.