Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Hi all,

The time seems to be flying by here. It has been a very good week so far...with a bit of variety. Today we went out to a rural health centre (level 3)in a town called Kitanda...40k outside of Masaka on a bumby/dusty road crammed in the back of a truck with Ais, Mickey and Cathy. We went to meet Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs). We had about 3 hours with them. Cathy was mostly asking them questions for research she is doing. They were increadibly keen and interested and clapped for us all the time. The women had been practicing for 4 to 35 years with 3-5 births a month. They talked about the diffuclty in their work being the lack of suppplies that the women came with and how often they were not paid at all or paid enough. On the other hand all the women felt they had earned a good reputation and were very hounored for their work. All these women had underwent an organized training session in 2000 and were very proud that they were chosen for this and felt that they were now very competent practitioners. Generally they all felt as though their relationship with the hospital and/or their referal centre was very good and they were well respected. During the session we all demonstrated different possitions women would deliver in...I think they thought I looked pretty funny on my hands and knees with my purse under my shirt. At the end we did a demonstration of normal and breech (they had been wanting a breech refresher) with a plastic pelvis and doll. They did demonstrations as well as us. We talked about the things we did the same and did differently. I wonderful day. They were all so coulourful and enthusiastic (we should have good pics soon). I think they were also happy to come because we gave them food, drink, gloves, soap and some money for transportation. Talking about years of experience with midwifery. On Monday one of the Midwives from Masaka hospital took us to meet a traditional birth attendant who work in Masaka. She is 96 years old and has been practicing since she was 14...82 years of midwifery under her belt!!! When we asked her what she liked best about her work instead of answering us she said she has been trying for a long time to not practice, but people wont stop coming to her (no wonder with 82 years experience). We got a very cute picture of her in her apron with all her birthing supplies.

What else? Tonight we had dinner with some social work students from Douglas College who have been here for a couple of months (funny how we would be all in the same small town and all from BC). The night before we had dinner with a large group of staff from Masaka hospital ( Midwives, Administrators and Ugandan Student Nurse/Midwives). Cathy an Mickey hosted it and they seemed all very happy to come and socialize.

The days at labour and delivery have been good and fairly busy. On Tuesday the minute I was in the delivery room I was delivering a baby. We seem to be getting runs of things in our deliveries. A few women bleeding more than we would like them to after delivery...part of this could be due to the fact that the hospital is totally out of oxytocin for active we've been using ergot after the placenta is out. More tears than we would like recently...not sure why...and not easy to suture with one totally sketchy clamp, no needle driver and no light. Generally the experience can get so busy at times that they can all blurr into one birth experience.

Tomorrow we are leaving after a half day at Malago for Kampala. Then working one day at the high risk ward in Kampala. Then to some rest and relaxation in Jinja. Pictures should be coming soon...we can't download them here in Masaka...need to wait till Kamapala.

Learning lots...having a great experience


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings from Canada!

What a story! Can't wait to see the photos of the ancient midwife. Amazing.

What's the latest on Masaka's black belt midwives? In one of your earlier chapters you (Ais?) mentioned that the blackbelts had returned to the hospital and been miffed at your presence. Did they come around?

Take care! Love,

9:20 AM  

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