Triplets, twins and singles; heartwarming safe births from Kyangwali Refugee Settlement

9 March 2018
With support from UNFPA, triplets Abigail Neema, Plamedi Sifa and Davido Nehenie were safely delivered during the DR Congo emergency. PHOTO: UNFPA/Jimmy Dombo.

Kyangwali Settlement, HOIMA: Pregnancy and childbirth are supposed to be journeys of joy; with a safe birth a dream of every mother. But during emergencies, women and girls may give birth without access to skilled care, making complications even more dangerous during childbirth. Yet, in such times, the survival of women depends on whether they have access to basic sexual and reproductive health services.

As the emergency in the Democratic Republic of Congo persists, thousands – one in five of whom is a pregnant woman - have fled ethnic clashes in the past months. In response, UNFPA is delivering an increasing share of its services to ensure protection of the rights and health of expectant mothers, and the results are visible as testified by the refugee women in Kyangwali refugee settlement priding with their bundles of joy.

Among them is twenty-year-old Ruth Neema who safely delivered triplets at Rwenyawaawa Health Centre III on arrival in Uganda. This was after fleeing tribal clashes nine months pregnant. She lost contact with her husband during flight and has not heard from him again:

“Being pregnant, it was very challenging on the way but with God’s grace, I was able to make to Kagoma Refugee Reception Centre where I am currently staying waiting to be settled.

“It was here that I went into labour and rushed by ambulance to Rwenyawaawa Health Centre III where I delivered triplets. I am grateful to UNFPA for the three dignity kits. The shawls to keep my babies warm on this cold floor,” she says.

Buma Estella, aged 28 also tells the story of how she safely delivered twin girls; Ishara Nyangoma and Ruta Nyakato.

“I was pregnant when the fighting broke out in Congo, people were being killed and houses burnt. We fled to the landing site and crossed into Uganda by boat on Lake Albert. We stayed four days at Sebagoro Refugee Transit centre, then to Kagoma reception centre for another three days before being settled here at Maratau III Village,” she narrates.

On the night of 19 February at 11 pm, Buma developed labor pains and delivered with the help of neighbours. The next morning, while on a house-to-house UNFPA supported volunteers identified Buma who was now experiencing severe abdominal pains and was rushed by ambulance to the nearest health post.

“I am now back home and recovering well. I thank UNFPA for the support,” says Buma, now settled in Maratatu III Village Kyangwali settlement. 

Another refugee Harriet Ndroyi also safely delivered twins on 2 February after being rushed in an ambulance to Hoima Regional Referral Hospital due to a complication. “Now everyone calls me “Nyabade”(Mother of Twins),” she says. 

- Written by Jimmy Dombo