Titled, ‘My pregnancy’, the first of its kind to be reviewed and approved by the Ministry of Health for circulation, the handbook contains chapters detailing what one needs to do from preconception, antenatal to postnatal care.
a nurse based at Soroti Regional Referral hospital has written a handbook providing
a step by step guide to health workers and women about pregnancy care.
‘My pregnancy’, the first of its kind to be reviewed and approved by the
Ministry of Health for circulation, the handbook contains chapters detailing what
one needs to do from preconception, antenatal to postnatal care.
According to Lubega, under pre-conception care for instance,
the package stipulates that one has to check for genetic diseases,
vaccinate against preventable diseases and check their nutritional status,
which involves among others screening for anaemia.
//Cue in: “Chapter esooka twagituuma ………..
Cue out: …………. Musawo akusalire amageezi” //
He says most of the information is largely ignored by both
health workers and couples, adding that he hatched idea from his experience
during training at Kawempe National referral hospital. Lubega reveals
that to date expectant mothers don’t get the required antenatal care but a
short conversation with busy medics in, which many times it’s hard to capture
any red flags.
//Cue in: “I got this idea …….
Cue out: …………. Deserve to get,” //
He says with glaring problems of access to healthcare, he thought of a solution
that can provide mothers information at their comfort without necessarily
having to visit a health facility.
//Cue in:” I thought I would …….
Cue out: ………. Even very fast” //
Lubega’s book, which features images that describe what care package is required at what point comes in just as the country is recovering
from the effects of the lockdown instituted to halt further transmission of
COVID-19. The lockdown saw a lot of women initially failing to make it to
health facilities for their antenatal appointments partly because of the break
down in transport.
Dr. Charles Olaro, the Director Curative Services in the Ministry of Health who
officiated at an awards event by the Social Innovation in Health
Initiative(SIHI), a hub under Makerere University School of Public Health that
supports none science innovations that drive health outcomes, said such
initiatives as Lubega’s came in handy to fill the gap created by COVID-19
During the lockdown, Lubega tried his book by embarking on zoom antenatal
classes where he used the book to interact with women who needed pregnancy-related services for free. He managed to
reach 120 women through this trial campaign dubbed, ‘antenatal ku Sunday’ by December.
Also he says he then sought approvals and put out the book for sale in various
book shops in Kampala. At least 300 copies of the book have been sold. Now,
his innovation has received an award for filling the void that became more
visible during the lockdown.
Speaking to URN on Thursday morning, Dr. Phyllis Awor, the
Director of the SIHI hub said they awarded Lubega after a review by a
multidisciplinary team from the Ministry and the College of Health Sciences
that confirmed the quality of his content.
Awor says access to health education by pregnant women outside the Antenatal
Care Clinic is important for improving maternal and child health outcomes
noting that more than 50% of the women attending ANC don’t receive sufficient
information as less than 15 minutes are allocated to each woman.
Lubega says if endorsed by the Ministry for use in all health facilities, the
book will be translated into five other languages to ensure that the entire
population can put the resource to use.