Every person wants health and security. Every person needs health and security. Every person deserves health and security. This is true wherever you are in the world. Whether you walk on paved streets, dirt roads, or jungle floors, we walk the same path regardless of what surrounds it. There will always be clearances and overgrowth. We will always have to accept that with the good and easy times there will always come bad and rough times. It is our responsibility to choose our perspective and that is how we get further down the path.
I have been working in Uganda for two years and I can honestly say there is never good news that isn’t accompanied by a tragedy. I could get lost in the sadness, but instead I use it to work harder. About a year ago I wrote about a woman named Doreen. She went into labor with her 5th child as she was being taken to the government hospital on the back of a motorcycle. On the side of the road, as her husband watched, Doreen delivered a still born baby and then bled to death. I will never forget her or that story. I use the sadness I feel from it to try to do better every day for women who are like Doreen. I often wake to news that is unsettling and I spend a good part of my day wondering how we can prevent these types of horrible situations from happening.
Earlier this year, Sam (Founder of Bronze Medical) began explaining the urgent need for a portable ultrasound machine and printer. Project Hope for Ugandan Women worked hard to raise funds for this machine. Through our hard work and generous donations, Bronze Medical Center was able to purchase this life saving technology. I asked Sam to share with me an instance where the ultrasound machine has made the difference between life and death. This is his response.
A pregnant mother of 3 went to a government hospital to receive care because of pain she was having in her abdominal area. Because of the Ugandan Medical Association strikes (learn more here), she was turned away and told to go to Bronze Medical Center because they knew we had the ultrasound machine and were not participating in the strike. She came to us by motorcycle taxi in a great deal of pain. We used the ultrasound machine to assess her pain and discovered she was pregnant with twins, but both had died in utero. She needed emergency surgery so we paid an ambulance driver $20 to take her to Mbale Regional, a two hour drive, to have an emergency caesarean surgery.
The woman was experiencing intra-uterine fetal death. In cases where the body doesn’t naturally delivery the deceased child the condition can cause severe bleeding. I cannot say that this case was the same as what Doreen experienced, but I can say it was very similar. Both of Doreen and this mother were desperately racing on motorcycle to get to a hospital for labor pains and both delivered stillborn. This lady went to Bronze because of the hard work Sam, his wife, and their staff has done advocating in their community. The government hospital that refused her knew where to send her. Bronze is known for helping women in need without cost and now we are known to have lifesaving medical equipment. This woman would have left three children to be orphaned, but we stopped that from happening.
Project Hope for Ugandan Women and Bronze Medical set out on a mission to reduce the maternal mortality rate in Uganda. We work daily to understand the need of women and community as a whole. Daily we find new issues that need to addressed, one just as equally as important as the other. We appreciate all the support we have received over the last two years. Every moment spent writing a proposal, every dollar given, every talent shared leads to a woman’s survival.