Currently many mothers of Ddegeya Village and the surrounding villages give birth to babies in the home with a traditional birth attendant (TBA) using only a black plastic bag, just like those we obtain from our own grocery stores. Most families cannot afford the approximate 25,000 Ugandan Schillings (UGX) (about $10 USD) for the Maama Kits sold in Masaka, the nearest retail center, let alone the transportation cost.
Engeye does not believe in pure charity, but when needs are significant, a subsidization is necessary. With maternal and neonatal mortality continuing to be at unacceptably high rates in Uganda, we cannot stand by watching mothers and babies die without attempting to work together towards a solution. In light of this, Engeye is conducting a pilot project where we obtain the Maama Kits in bulk from Kampala, Uganda’s capital, and sell them at a subsidized rate of 10,000 UGX for the women of the village and surrounding region. Still paying a fee, but now an affordable one, the women will now have the option to give birth with the minimal necessary items to prevent death — sterile gloves, umbilical cord clamps, plastic sheets to protect from the dirt floor and soap.
Engeye Clinic is not at a point where we can facilitate deliveries within our health care clinic, but we still believe it is crucial to work toward Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, to improve child and maternal health and reduce mortality, and believe that Maama Kits are the next step forward in supporting these goals.
Maama Kits are distributed by the United Nations Development Programme and are considered an essential item for health care facilities to stock by the Ugandan Ministry of Health.