Connector Articles, Family Planning

A Message of Thanks from Uganda to the American People

April 12, 2019

by Kathy Erb

U.S. support for global health programs are having significant impact across the globe, something that Olivia Nangendo the Human Resources and Administration Manager at St. Stephen’s Hospital, in Kampala, Uganda witnesses first hand. The hospital is owned by the Anglican Church of Uganda in Mpererwe in the Namirembe Diocese. Thanks to financial support from the U.S. government through Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB), the hospital is able to provide voluntary family planning services, enabling families to time and space pregnancies. “We truly appreciate the American people for supporting voluntary family planning services that we are now able to provide to our community,” said Olivia (shown above). “And above all, we thank God who has enabled them to help us care for those in need and bring healthcare services closer to them.”

A midwife at St. Stephens Hospital inserts a contraceptive implant. Photo courtesy of St. Stephens Hospital.

Properly spacing births protects the health of the mother and baby. “By offering voluntary family planning services, we are able to help mothers have ample time to recover from childbirth – at least two years between birth and the next pregnancy is recommended – and to prepare themselves to become pregnant again,” said Olivia. “Family planning helps families have the number of children they are able to take care of and provide with basic needs. Mothers are then able to take good care of themselves and their families.”

According to Olivia, many women in the area are not well educated about pregnancy and its risks, especially those who are pregnant for the first time. “When women come for ANC (antenatal care) visits, they are educated on health, hygiene, nutrition, childbirth, newborn care and spacing after pregnancy. Many mothers in our catchment area are still faced with economic challenges and this is a hindrance to accessing ANC and hospital delivery,” she said.

How are U.S. funds used?

U.S. government funds help pay for supplies, community education and oversight to ensure the quality of services align with the Ugandan Ministry of Health Family Planning guidelines. “With Support from UPMB as the technical health arm of the Church of Uganda and Seventh Day Adventist Union Uganda, two midwives from our facility attended a five-day workshop on how to competently deliver voluntary family planning services,” said Olivia. “U.S. funds have been used to support service delivery at the facility level and monthly community outreach. With support from the Advancing Partners and Communities (APC) community-based family planning project (supported by USAID) we are able to conduct two integrated outreach efforts each month, meaning we integrate family planning services with other services, like cervical cancer screening, HIV services, and childhood immunization and post-natal care.”

Reaching people with information about health they can understand is the first step to introducing new ideas and encourage healthy behavior. “Materials designed for a low-literacy population on how family planning methods work have been developed, shared, and used by religious leaders to increase their knowledge on family planning as well as creating awareness and demand for services within the communities they serve,” said Olivia.

Expression of Love

“The U.S. government has enabled the community to have access to information and family planning services at no cost through our facility and we greatly thank God for the love the American people have shown to people in developing countries,” said Olivia. “Without this support many women would find it extremely difficult in terms of cost to access voluntary family planning services. These women could end up having unplanned pregnancies, which can result in a number of negative consequences, harming the health of the mother and children. With family planning these women can take care of their families as they protect themselves from complications that may arise from unplanned pregnancy and childbirth.”

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