Obituary – Emvikia Grace
It is with great sadness at the end of last year we announced the death of Emvikia Grace. Grace passed away in Kampala on Saturday 15th December after a short illness.
Grace was our most senior and respected midwife in Azur Clinic and has been in post since the buildings were first opened in 2007. She was the first midwife to be employed to open the then new maternity wards and lead the team of midwives. Originally in charge of the maternity wards and all that this encompassed, she was able to share her knowledge and skills with many midwives who have passed through Azur, some still there, and always there until very recently to support them out of hours with emergencies or difficult decisions. In the last couple of years she had moved to the family planning side of things and led the new cryotherapy services at Azur.
One of Grace’s passions was for those communities and villages which were unable to access good quality maternity services. She worked hard to ensure mothers and their babies received the best possible care, and it was often her experience and quick referrals which saved lives and achieved better outcomes around the time of delivery. Grace was a key person behind our connection with Runga. It was one of those remote villages in Hoima District where Grace was part of the first team to offer regular antenatal care through outreaches, before MAMA was in a position to have our permanent clinic there. Grace went from one of the midwives visiting every eight weeks to being part of a team who now offers maternity services every day if the week, she was well respected amongst the village leaders, as we as the families who attended the clinic to the point where mothers would make excuses to attend on of her clinics when she was in Runga!
Grace was a very skilled midwife, this was evident in her ability to identify a mother in obstructed labour almost as she walked through the door, before she had even examined the mother! And if Grace made a referral from Runga to Azur the whole of Hoima would know and on one occasion news even reached the U.K. when two of the U.K. midwives were talking on FaceTime! Grace could be heard in the background on the MAMA phone repeatedly asking for an update on where the vehicle was, and then later how the mother and baby was.
Many of you who have volunteered with MAMA will have met and worked alongside Grace, others would have heard us talking about her on our return from Uganda, and each of you will be aware of the huge respect we hold for her. You will know of her wicked sense of humour and her ability to have the most amazing food waiting for us at the end of a long shift! She took care of us as she did her family. Many of you will also know of Grace’s knack of snagging a bargain in many of the villages where we held outreach clinics, she always managed to come home with fresh produce, whether it be fish attached to our windscreen, chickens under our seats or a bunch of matooke on the roof rack!
It has been an honour to have known Grace both personally and professionally, she will be sorely missed by the MAMA family. She was an amazing midwife, friend and mentor who will be remain in our hearts.