Amanda Hanemaayer, former Summer International Health Fellow, reflects on her time of service and exposure at Project Bududa
On Maternal Health:
For quite some time I have been drawn to the areas of maternal health and infant development, I think simply because the process of new life strikes me as something inexplicably beautiful. The maternal health ward at the FIMRC clinic in Bududa had a manner of functioning that, at large, deconstructed my view of what healthcare ought to look like, and provided new insight into the definitions of sacrifice and community. Not only were the midwives available to mothers who chose to visit the clinic, but other staff were also wholeheartedly committed to visiting those incapable of making the journey down the mountains themselves. The physical boundaries or rough terrain and great distance were a tangible hurdle for any patient facing illness, but perhaps even more taxing for pregnant mothers, potentially with other young children, or those who have recently given birth. I thought it was truly beautiful that the FIMRC community was committed to meeting patients where they were, such that no needs were neglected or forgotten.
Working with the mothers and children in Bududa district was truly an incredible experience. A few times I had the privilege of doing antenatal outreach and postnatal outreach, wherein we visited mothers from the community at their homes, and even had the chance to observe a delivery during my time in Uganda. The mothers were welcoming and humble, and on various occasions we learned that the mothers we visited were not only committed to caring for their own children, but also others from the community who had lost their parents to tragedies such as HIV/AIDS. The idea of one being a maternal figure extended far beyond the context of their own immediate family, and that was a very special thing to witness. Language barriers made any significant dialogue difficult, but children have a way of interacting that seems to defy such boundaries. The children I was able to meet and serve were vibrant and joyful, despite the difficulty of their circumstances.
My project was to develop exit interviews for the maternal ward that would be used to assess whether mothers visiting the clinic were internalizing the information that they were being given. I selected this project primarily because of my interest in maternal health, but moreover because of the value that these interviews would be to ensuring effective health education related to topics such as nutrition, breastfeeding, and vaccinations.
FIMRC's Bushika Health Center
FIMRC's clinic in Bududa is a well used facility that strives to meet the needs of the community in every way they can. Being in a rural region, FIMRC's establishment of a clinic seems to have impacted the neighbouring villages in very positive ways, from promoting vaccination for widespread prevention of disease, to treating cases of malaria and pneumonia that would otherwise devastate families and villages, to providing hope to HIV positive individuals through a support system that seeks to encourage mutual commitment to supporting the wellbeing of self and others facing the same diagnosis. Furthermore, the staff at the clinic are all locals, so it not only has a positive impact, but a lasting one.