The Maternal and Newborn Scale-Up (MANeSCALE) Project has got a double shot in the arm of 160,000 Euros and 33,000 US Dollars from two Swedish charities of Social Initiative and the Einhorn Family Foundation, respectively.
With support from the two charities, MANeSCALE under the auspices of the Makerere University Centre of Excellence for Maternal and Newborn Health Research (CMNHR) has worked combined efforts with six hospitals in the Busoga Sub region to reduce maternal mortality over the last two years.
The new grants were announced during a recent visit by the CMNHR Team Leader Associate Prof. Peter Waiswa to the two philanthropic organisations that have been supporting MANeSCALE over the last two years.
Prof Waiswa meeting Social Initiative staff in Sweden
The MANeSCALE project is implemented through a skills strengthening and a successful mentoring programme. Talented and experienced health professionals from other hospitals - share their experience and simple methods to bring down maternal mortality and also reduce mortality among newborns. MANeSCALE supports Partograph use (which keeps track of the mother and the unborn child), death audits (statistics and analysis of the causes of deaths), facilitated the creation of rooms for premature babies where the newborns and their mothers are cared for and are not exposed to infections to the same extent, educated mothers in Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) method so the premature will stay warm instead of staying in incubators. Equally important is strengthening procedures for collecting and analysing data about the treatment of sick newborns, performed Caesarean, among others.
Says Professor Peter Waiswa: "It's not necessarily about the introduction of expensive or complicated equipment, but rather to spread knowledge about the simple actions that save lives and bring about improved practices in hospitals."
There are still challenges such as staff shortages, lack of enough medicines, blood and functioning ambulance and challenges with health centers that make ”unnecessary” referrals to hospitals putting the mother and the unborn child at high risk.
Going forward, MANeSCALE is set to build the capacity of the nursing staff at the health centres in the region and create and test a telephone network between hospitals and health centers, where medical professionals will be able to call and ask for advice before they refer patients, and thus provide better care already at the health centre.
"If we can boost up knowledge and practice further down in the health system and at the same time spread the lessons learned from the six hospitals in eastern Uganda to other hospitals, we have a chance to bring down maternal mortality in poor countries, with simple means" says Professor Peter Waiswa.