Serving God's People in Africa since 1868

New Health Center Needed for Mothers and Infants in Uganda

“In Uganda, mothers are dying at an alarming and increasing rate,” Fr. Fred writes. “Uganda’s maternal mortality rate has consistently been one of the highest in the world. In Uganda, one out of every 49 mothers will die of a complication related to pregnancy or delivery. It is worse among women in rural Uganda . . . because they face a number of obstacles in accessing essential maternal health care.”


“A new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.”

Eda LeShan 1922-2002

This time last year, nearly every country on the planet was in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, vaccines are giving many of us hope for a much safer and healthier future. What a difference a year can make! I also want to thank you for your continued financial support throughout these challenging times. Your caring and generosity have enabled us to maintain our programs providing food, water, shelter, medical care, education, and pastoral care for poor men, women and children throughout Africa. Your kindness is a blessing to us and those we serve!

Families waiting outside of the Health Center.

A few weeks ago, I received a letter from Fr. Fred Birungi — a missionary working in Kabale, Uganda, in East Africa. There, Fr. Fred is the director of the Hakishenyi Health Center — which serves poor families throughout the region. Since Uganda is ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world, the challenges facing those working at the health center can be overwhelming. Only rarely are those who come to the center able to pay for their care. As a result, Fr. Fred must continually seek financial support to help those who cannot help themselves. Needless to say, his job is more exhausting than many of us could ever imagine.

“In Uganda, mothers are dying at an alarming and increasing rate,” Fr. Fred writes. “Uganda’s maternal mortality rate has consistently been one of the highest in the world. In Uganda, one out of every 49 mothers will die of a complication related to pregnancy or delivery. It is worse among women in rural Uganda . . . because they face a number of obstacles in accessing essential maternal health care.”

“Since many people are so geographically isolated, there are often delays in getting prenatal and ongoing routine medical care — often because of a lack of access to properly trained medical staff. The leading causes of maternal death here are hemorrhage, eclampsia, and infection. All of these causes of death are largely preventable.”

Medical staff in the new health center.

“At the same time, newborn babies are not receiving the care they need,” Fr. Fred continues. “That is why Uganda has one of the highest rates of infant mortality as well. One in eleven children born in Uganda will die before their first birthday.”

“The people of the community came together to build the health center — especially the maternity ward — in response to the crisis of maternal and infant death. Getting the money to build the center was a challenge, but we did it — and recently we completed the building. Now, we need help purchasing additional medical equipment for the health center. Among the items we need are a resuscitator, blood pressure monitor, delivery bed, and medical instruments. I hope you can help.”

As you consider how you might be able to help support the health center at Fr. Fred’s mission in Uganda, perhaps you can reach out in your own community as well. Once your local hospital has lifted its pandemic restrictions, you could offer to volunteer in whatever capacity is needed. You could also offer to help with programs that provide daycare for children of low income families — such as at your church or community center.

I am also hoping that you will send a donation to help Fr. Fred’s mission purchase the additional items they need for the new health center. Since the rates of maternal and infant mortality are so high throughout East Africa, our hope is to raise at least $42,500 for this critical need — as well as to help with other projects of the Missionaries of Africa. Please know that whatever you can send — no matter the amount — your donation lets us know that we are not alone in this work. Your generosity also tells those we serve that you care. For all that you do, thank you!

 

Your Missionary Friend,

Denis P. Pringle
Director of Development