Last year Nsinda Elman a WRA volunteer brought you an article titled “Rhesus Incompatibility: a misfortune for Women and Babies” about Rachael Namata who had lost her newborn as a result of Rhesus incompatibility. I now bring you good news that she gave birth and the baby is alive and healthy. She is grateful to WRA for saving her second baby!
Rachael was pregnant with her first baby when she joined WRA and started advocating for safe motherhood. Due to a Rhesus incompatibility, she lost her first baby because she could not access the Anti-D-Vaccine that is used on women of her condition to save the baby (see article on WRA Pressroom 26th October 2010).
Rachael conceived again and this time WRA members from Tororo region (where she comes from) together with the WRA Board members and National Secretariat made sure that she receives the necessary maternal care during pregnancy and delivery. They organized resources that enabled her to receive an Anti-D-Vaccine at eight months at Mulago National Referral and Teaching Hospital situated in the capital city, Kampala where she also delivered from.
Dr. Josaphat K Byamugisha WRA Uganda-Board Vice Chairperson, also the Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology – Makerere University College of Health Sciences/ Mulago Hospital, played a significant role to save Rachel and her baby.
I personally escorted her to Mulago, unfortunately some persons were demanding for over $200 for the vaccine which is supposed to be given for free! She did not have the money but knew that she would contact WRA Uganda National Secretariat who would find a way to save her expected baby. Fortunate enough when the National Secretariat staff approached Dr. Byamugisha he swiftly and greatly supported Rachael get the vaccine at no cost. He later informed us the drug was brought in from National medical Stores (NMS), which is a government owned unit.
She gave birth to a bouncing baby girl who she named ‘Brennan Alindwe White Ribbon. “I wouldn’t have got her alive if it wasn’t for WRA…”Rachael exclaimed. “Many thanks to the staff in Mulago and all WRA members who made it possible for me to access the vaccine that saved my baby… Babies are sweet, they don’t deserve to die” she added with a smile.
Photo by WRA Uganda: a moment of joy for Rachael with her newborn at the maternity ward, Mulago National Referral Hospital
Many mothers like Rachael continue to suffer or lose their babies because they have no knowledge about overcoming risky conditions through seeking skilled attendance. Women should be empowered and educated about what they ought to do as they plan to have babies so that they prevent dangers once detected. Health is a human right, there should be a way to speak for the voiceless majority who continue to suffer silently, yet we all know that everyone has a right to life. Mothers together with the husbands should have birth plans.
Rachael knew where and how to seek help, whereas majority of women do not have this confidence or even lack knowledge on the many risky conditions that most of the time cause maternal morbidity and mortality. Communities need to be sensitized on pregnancy and birth preparedness putting a lot of emphasis on the role of the family, the husband and the community. This calls for continued advocacy and increased awareness about the problems and challenges that women face related to pregnancy and childbirth.