This blog post was contributed by Faatimaa Ahmadi, one of the fifteen Young Champions of Maternal Health chosen by Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth. She will be blogging about her experience every month, and you can learn more about her, the other Young Champions, and the program here.
“Nancy, can you believe it? I can say everything I want in English. There is no need anymore to try hard finding a word to convey my intent.”
I am very happy and proud of this achievement and thankful to Joyce fertility support centre group for their effort. The ability helps me speak out more easily. Now that we are forming our working group to assess community needs related to health I can interact more efficiently.
In the beginning of this month my family joined me. What a sweet time it was. I never thought that I will be apart from them, especially my six year-old son, for 2 months. Joyce fertility support centre group welcomed them warmly. The Iranian ambassador, Mr. Dabiran, kindly invited us to their home for dinner and they appreciated me for working with this humanitarian group to improve the health of human beings.
I see that my son has changed; I don’t know which one of us has changed more. My son or me?
It is the second time that I can feel changes happening inside me. The first time was after entering Alzahra University studying educational psychology. The second time is since when I was selected as a Young Champion to now work with Joyce fertility support centre in the Mukono and Wakiso districts of Uganda.
I have visited some maternity wards of these districts. To reach the Mukono district we passed through soily and bumpy feeder roads which can makes me feel nauseous. I needed to sit in the fresh air for some minutes to get rid of this feeling when I arrived! But shortly I improved. You cannot imagine the smiles on the clients’ faces sitting in front of the health centre. Immediately I sensed that most of them were from far away, reaching the centre by a motorcycle (by the nick name of Boda Boda) holding a baby. The people of the community are innocent and hospitable. When I am with them no one understands the peace that I feel in my heart.
In the health centers of the two districts we visited, each had one midwife. “When I don’t come to work this maternity ward is closed,” the midwife told us while she led us through the maternity wing. I wondered to myself, “What happens to clients when she is absent?”
We were shown drugs and free HIV screenings. We also saw their lack of tap water, and their shortage of electricity (they use a charcoal stove to sterilize their instruments instead).
One of the big challenges in these maternity wings is that the pregnant women come for prenatal and postnatal care but they don’t show up for giving birth (they prefer traditional birth attendants). I wonder why it is that they know the importance of prenatal and postnatal care, but they don’t understand the necessity of giving birth in health centers by the help of a trained midwife? Or, do they have the knowledge and just not apply it? I cannot say anything now. I have to wait to hear from them in the coming months.