For Me, Giving Birth Must be at the Health Facility

Our grant to help provide transportation vouchers for pregnant women in Uganda helps mothers overcome a huge barrier many face when trying to access healthcare.

When the distance from home to a healthcare provider is too far, many women have no choice but to deliver their babies at home or to walk until they either reach their clinic or find transportation. Annet is one of the mothers who has benefitted from this voucher system. She shares her recent birth story here:

“For me, giving birth must be at the health facility. And thanks for the vouchers…” -Annet

My name is Annet Night, I am 27 years old and I am a housewife. I am a mother of four: nine, seven, five years and my fourth-born, Karim, is one week and three days old. I am lucky to have delivered all four at a health facility. My husband is a boda boda rider (motorcycle taxi driver) and he is very supportive. Not everyone’s husband in my village agrees to cover the costs of a health facility delivery but my husband is so supportive. My mother-in-law who lives next door, accompanies me to the health centre and my husband meets us there when I am in labor.

When I was five months pregnant, our Village Health Team worker (VHT) came by to visit my house. She explained that I needed to visit the health center four times for antenatal care before delivery to ensure my baby was growing well and had no problems. She also explained to my husband about the need for both of us to know our HIV status. She took me through preparing for the delivery and what items I needed to gather in preparation for the child’s arrival.

On her second visit, the VHT explained to me about the ‘kakonge’ (bodas for mother’s vouchers). The telephone number for the boda rider to call once I was in labor was on the voucher. I went for my antenatal care visits as instructed because I wanted my baby to be monitored to ensure he was OK. Life then went on as usual.

One day as I was digging in my garden, I began to feel dull labor pains. It was about 11 am. My other two children were at school with the youngest at his grandmother’s house. My husband had reported to his work station. I knew what was happening and slowly walked back to the house. If I was going into labour, I had to ensure the older children had something to eat on their return since I would be away for I didn’t know how long.

I prepared some posho (maize meal bread) and ground nut sauce for the children who were at school. By the time I was done with the preparations, my five-year old was back from his grandmother’s house. I told him to go tell his grandmother “it has started,” which he did. My mother-in-law came over, looked at my voucher and called the boda rider. The rider arrived in about 10 minutes and helped me to sit on the motorcycle. My mother-in-law came along with me to Bukuku Health Centre III. We arrived at the health facility in less than thirty minutes.

Thanks God the delivery of the little boy went without any complications.

If it hadn’t been for the Baylor boda (Bodas for Mothers) everything would have taken longer. One of my older children, who was not even at home, would have to be back first, then go to the main road and find a boda. I truly appreciate the services Baylor provides for pregnant mothers because I know it really does facilitate the process.

To help spread awareness about the challenges distance presents to women accessing critical maternity care, please watch and share our film “The Walk.”

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