'Maama' Kits promote safe deliveries in Uganda

08 Mar 2009

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Ugandan women at a health clinic in the Ruhiira Millennium Development Village.
© UNDP
Ruhiira, Uganda - Ninsiima Judith just gave birth to a healthy, 4-kg boy. Her eyes are filled with both joy and exhaustion.

“This is my first delivery at a health facility; the midwife treated me very well,” says Ninsiima, the proud mother of six girls and now one boy.

Ninsiima is one of several hundred women in Ruhiira, a village in Southwestern Uganda,  to give birth in a health institution.

She delivered her previous children at home with the assistance of traditional birth attendants because health institutions lacked the essentials.

This is now changing rapidly. As Uganda’s first Millennium Village, Ruhiira has placed child and maternal mortality among its highest priorities and is decreasing death  rates dramatically.

Now, thanks to a health kit disseminated by UNDP and known as the “Maama” Kit, the number of medically-supervised deliveries in Ruhiira has increased to 75%, up from 8% in December 2007.  That’s 263 births per months, up from 51.

The “Maama” Kits are designed to help women deliver in clean conditions. They include baby sheets; soap; pads; gloves; a surgical blade;  a sterilized chord for tying the umbilical cord and rehydration packages.

The pack reduces the risk of vaginal and eye infections, tetanus and diarrhea, all of which may occur in bad hygiene conditions.

The Ruhiira Millennium Development Village intervenes in five core areas: health; agriculture and environment; water and sanitation; education; and infrastructure. The project has also initiated activities in enterprise development to improve livelihoods and increase incomes.

The total population in the project area is 43,056, comprising 8,133 households. The project aims to empower communities with knowledge and skills to use the resources they have to come out of poverty in all its manifestations.

This is done through participatory processes that enhance local ownership and sustainability of the overall program.

Ruhiira: a few additional accomplishments

• Mobilization of rural savings among newly new women’s association comprising 450 members; 30 of them trained in business development;
• Family planning workshops conducted in which 150 people participated;
• Increased bean production by 50% and maize production by 150% through distribution of improved seeds; assisted farmers to store and market about 500 tons of maize;
• Communities trained to vaccinate goats against “Lumpy Skin Disease”
• 18 primary schools benefit from school feeding programme (7,051 pupils), leading to increased school attendance;
• HIV/AIDS prevention clinics conducted in schools;
• Construction of five school buildings;
• 46 community nurseries established.

For more on UNDP's work in Uganda, go to www.undp.or.ug