Epilogue: Saving Mothers, Giving Life – A Positive ImpactPosted on by
This is the fifth installment in a five-part series about efforts to save the lives of mothers in Africa through an initiative called Saving Mothers, Giving Life. Be sure to read the other four blog posts in this series.
The strong results of the Saving Mothers, Giving Life initiative have drawn praise to Uganda. CDC, along with the Uganda Ministry of Health and other partners, was an integral partner in both the design and execution of the plan.
The success spills beyond simply maternal health to other efforts on which CDC and Uganda’s Ministry of Health have been collaborating on for year. The most notable of those is PEPFAR, the ambitious U.S.-led effort to combat the HIV/AIDs epidemic.
By targeting maternal health, SMGL also contributes to PEPFAR’s targets in Uganda by ensuring that pregnant women are counseled and tested for HIV and are accessing prevention of mother-to-child transmission services in a timely manner.
“This effort is a clear indication of the value of the PEPFAR platform in driving effective diagonal programs through Saving Mothers, Giving Life,” said CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS Director Debbi Birx. “We are pleased to see impacts on HIV/AIDS as well as on maternal and newborn health outcomes.”
It’s all part of a program known for its success and ability to shape-shift as needed, nurturing innovative ideas such as the Mother Waiting Sheds to the renovation of health facilities and the strengthening of location-appropriate transport systems.
Success is measured not only in the human stories, but in the numbers.
The number of pregnant women delivering in facilities – rather than at home – has increased by 50 percent in the targeted districts in Uganda as well as Zambia where it’s also used. The percentage of pregnant women who had a least four visits before giving birth doubled.
All of the facilities in targeted districts in Uganda providing Cesarean sections are now able to provide safe blood for women who are hemorrhaging.
It’s sustainable as well. More than 300 new doctors, nurses, midwives, and technical officers have been added to the health workforce in both Uganda and Zambia.
Uganda remains a difficult place to be pregnant, especially if measured by high income country standards. But SMGL’s undeniable success and its staying power has made Uganda a less dangerous place to be pregnant, public health experts say. Saving Mothers, Giving Live is a reason for optimism.