The 2020 Walk to Save a Mother is cancelled due to COVID-19.
But you can still help to prevent mothers from dying of pregnancy and childbirth-related causes by starting your own fundraising campaign with Save the Mothers.
The COVID-19 lockdown in low income countries creates barriers to all sectors from transport to social services. Health services, especially for mothers and newborns, are most in trouble. In East Africa and Uganda in particular, the media is reporting worsening maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality.
Why are more mothers dying during COVID-19?
Many in Canada are finding the restrictions to life tough, but Uganda is in a total lockdown. For over 6 weeks, women have not had many options for travel. The government forbids public transportation of any kind. Travel is restricted to emergency response vehicles except with permission from the resident district commissioners to access health services. You might imagine that when a women has an obstetric emergency, she probably does not have the appropriate permissions in place to travel.
Update from Uganda
Samuel Opio is a graduate of Save the Mothers Master’s of Public Health Leadership. He now teaches in the program and writes about maternal health issues. Recently, Samuel related this story to us about Perepata Atim. Her experience motivates us to hold this year’s campaign.
“Perepata Atim, a 35-year-old pregnant mother and the President of Akisim village, developed birth complications and walked to Kameke Health Centre III, about 15 kilometres from her home, for medical attention.
Sandrine Anek, the nurse who attended to Atim, said, ‘The mother came at around 8:30 am but then she did not first see the health worker. She went behind the labour ward. Then at around 10:00 am she came and was examined. That is when we found out that the fetus was already dead and she was in the second stage of labour.
We couldn’t send her away and say let her push on the way. By 1:30 pm we called the ambulance, we called the administrator Pallisa hospital and he told us it is okay. We waited for the ambulance up to around 2:00 to 2:30 pm. I told my in-charge to call again. When she called, they told her that the ambulance was going to come for her. At around 3:00 pm the mother started becoming restless but of course, we were still waiting for the ambulance. At around 3:30 pm, she died.’
John Olinga, the deceased’s husband faulted the district task force whom he says delayed to avail them with the ambulance to transfer his wife to Pallisa hospital.
The district chairperson Pallisa, however, said that the district has only one ambulance which makes it practically impossible to pick up all patients in time [during the pandemic].”
We can’t save every mother. And we grieve the loss of Perepata and her child.
While Uganda is in lockdown, we can rescue many other mothers by providing needed emergency surgeries, life-saving care and PPE for local health care workers. Join us in our most important campaign ever.