Where is Runga?
Runga is a small fishing village on Lake Albert, which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo. The population of women is very transitional due to the location. The provision of health and schooling is very limited and not government regulated.
The village had been supported by Justine, a local Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) who has had no formal education in her skill, but delivered her women in the best way she could, with very little resources.
Outreach care to clinic
MAMA used to pay for the Azur Maternity team to reach Runga every 8 weeks and provide outreach care via HIV/Syphilis screening & treatment, antenatal & postnatal care, Immunisations and a family planning clinic. Now since MAMA has opened the permanent clinic, the women of Runga and surrounding areas have 24/7 access to this care. When the need arises, the women have transport provided for them by MAMA, when interventions in maternity care is needed.
The evidence of need was overwhelming and time and time again research within midwifery and reproductive health care has informed us to provide access to care and safe referral of women in rural settings in the efforts to reduce maternal mortality, so building the clinic was the next logical step.
Justine’s role in this was and still is, to inform the women and advise them to come to the new clinic, help us in translations and build the ever-building trust with the women. As ever documented in the relationship between a Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) and skilled birth attendant (midwife), we were nervous and very much aware we would impact her livelihood as a TBA, therefore MAMA pays her a salary that is equal of her TBA role and encourages her in every aspect to be apart of the Runga MAMA clinic.
Care is provided by the Azur Midwives on a 6-day rota on their days off with additional pay from MAMA, separate from Azur thus not impacting on the care provided by the midwives in Azur. We have built a compound for resident staff with clean water & cooking facilities, solar panel electricity, a mobile phone to link in with Azur and transport when referrals are needed or equipment/stocks are needed, a security guard at night and transport to and from Hoima on handover days.
The clinic is a success and we are ever dealing with additional referrals from neighbouring villages outside of midwifery care and referring or treating them in the best way we can.
May 2017 marked the formal opening of the new maternity clinic in Runga. Runga is one of three districts overseen by the Kitara-Bunyoni Diocese, therefore we very honoured that Bishop Sam performed the opening ceremonies for us. It was an amazing and very emotional day with the whole village coming to watch local schools and church groups performing dramas and music to celebrate safe delivery services in their village. It was a big event for the village, all the celebrations took place in front of the clinic on Main Street which had been closed for us. Guests came from the UK and Hoima to help us celebrate.