Month: July 2019
By: Vinussa Rameshshanker
“In those days before the ultrasounds, it was a blessing to be the first person to know what sex the mother was carrying…”
FullSoul is ever grateful for our partners who join us as we work together towards improving the state of maternal health in Uganda, which is why I would like to share with you the story of one of our valued partners and how she came to be the midwife she is today.
Meet Sister Juliette, the lovely woman in the photo with a beautiful smile who greets me warmly whenever I visit Kawolo Hospital. Kawolo Hospital has been one of FullSoul’s partnering healthcare facilities since 2014. Sister Juliette is the In-Charge Senior Midwife for the hospital’s maternity department. In fact, Sister Juliette has been working at Kawolo Hospital for 26 years now!
Let’s travel back to Sister Juliette’s childhood. Visiting hospitals for various reasons during her youth, Sister Juliette always knew that she was attracted to the purple uniforms worn by some of the healthcare workers she would see walking around the facilities. However, she never knew what the purple uniforms represented. And so one day, she decided to ask and she learned that the workers dressed in purple were actually midwives in training!
Sister Juliette’s interest and passion for midwifery stayed with her as she finished up secondary school and studied to receive a certificate in midwifery. To Sister Juliette, it is a blessing to be the first person to know the sex of the baby carried by the mother. As a midwife delivering a mother, you are granted the opportunity to reveal the secret of whether the mother would be receiving a new baby boy or baby girl – how incredible! This was true especially back in the day, when ultrasound scans were not as common. In fact, even in the current time, many mothers are still unable to receive an ultrasound prior to delivery due to many different reasons. For example, the mother may not have the funds for transport to a clinic with a scan, or nearby facilities may be lacking functioning ultrasound scan machines. Recognizing these circumstances where mothers may not be able to access the care that they need, it is the work of delivering newborns, helping mothers, and bringing new life into the world that brings Sister Juliette happiness every single day.
Each year, the number of patients served at Kawolo Hospital continues to grow. Without a doubt, Sister Juliette alongside the rest of the hospital’s staffing team will be there to continue supporting and fighting for healthier communities. It is clear that challenges exist in the working environment, such as the limited resources for providing care. However, after both listening to and observing these challenges firsthand during my internship with FullSoul, it is equally as clear that the work of staff at Kawolo Hospital as well as other public healthcare facilities in Uganda demonstrates nothing but resilience worthy of admiration.
On that note, let us take a moment today wherever you may be to thank and celebrate our partners who, like Sister Juliette, commit themselves daily to serving mothers, children, families, and communities to help build a stronger and healthier nation. Thanks for reading FullSoulers, until next time!
FullSoul, Sterile Processing Education Charitable Trust (SPECT), and Rotary Club of Mukono are partnering to provide medical kits and training on surgical instrument sterilization to Nurses and Midwives in Uganda
In Canada, when women labor in hospitals they have trust in the healthcare system to use sterile supplies for safe delivery. In Uganda, chronic underfunding has left many health facilities without adequate medical supplies. Very often, pregnant women arrive at hospitals with their own medical tools and must pay for their own delivery supplies. If they cannot do either, they are turned away. In addition, shortages of consumables means that disposable items often get reused between patients, potentially increasing the spread of dangerous infections. To reduce post-delivery complications and deaths, FullSoul and Sterile Processing Education Charitable Trust (SPECT) are partnering to provide medical kits with reusable surgical instruments and training on proper sterile processing techniques to midwives and nurses.
FullSoul, a Canadian non-profit organization co-founded by Christina Hassan, implemented the Maternal Medical Kit (MMK) program in hospitals in Uganda. The program provides hospitals with toolkits containing artery forceps, scissors, kidney dishes, needle holders, and dissecting forceps that can be sterilized and reused.
With funding provided by a Global Rotary Club Grant, SPECT will provide training and mentoring in sterile processing practices to help ensure instruments provided through the MMK program are safe for reuse between patient procedures. In partnership with the Rotary Club of Mukono, SPECT and FullSoul will provide sterilization equipment, including instrument baskets, dressing drums and autoclaves where needed. The added tools, as well as SPECT training, will equip nurses and midwives with an essential understanding of the importance of sterile processing practices. SPECT’s research has found knowledge of effective sterilization practices motivates healthcare workers and decreases the risks present in the birth environments for mothers and babies.
“FullSoul’s number one priority has always been safe births for mothers, babies and healthcare providers. With the help of SPECT, we will make sure that our tools reach the highest attainable level of sterility so no one is left behind.” says Christina Hassan. “Thanks to Avenue’s Top 40 under 40, we came to know about SPECT and all the great work this Calgary-based organization does around the world. It is always great to meet people doing wonderful things in our global community, but even better when we find those connections at home in Calgary.”
Christina Fast, founder of SPECT, established the organization after visiting hospitals in Sierra Leone and learning that sterilization of surgical tools was absent in the hospitals she visited. Fast is an experienced sterile processing educator who has been teaching healthcare workers since 2011, both in Calgary and internationally. SPECT has worked in 7 countries in Africa, including Guinea, Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Benin. SPECT’s involvement and connection to numerous countries in Africa makes them suited to work together with FullSoul to improve healthcare in Uganda.Read More