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Prepared with knowledge, expected refugee mothers are embracing skilled care at birth services

Thirty –one -year old Rebecca Mapendo is a resident of Mukunyu B village in Kyangwali settlement, south western Uganda. She is mother to a four-year-old boy and is currently six months pregnant. Her story is one that is heartwarming and she speaks with hope of rebuilding her life in her new home in Kyangwali settlement after a devastating attack from the rebels back in the Democratic Republic of Congo claimed the lives of seven of her children and husband.

“I lost everything I had including my property, my children, husband and my entire family. The war took everything from me and I look forward to rebuilding my life afresh including having more children of my own. I have been able to have one child, my son who is four years old now.”

In March 2021, as part of life saving intervention services, with support from the UN Central Emergency Fund (CERF), and through UNFPA implementing partner Lutheran World Federation (LWF), conducted a pregnancy mapping activity where Rebecca was identified at four months pregnant. She was registered for follow up to ensure she attends antenatal care services and delivers at a health center under skilled care when due. Rebecca was also given a card that included the number of the ambulance driver to be called in case of any emergency.

 In April 2021, Rebecca says she contracted an infection that caused a lot of bleeding.


Rebecca Mapendo standing infront of her house in Mukunyu B village in
Kyangwali refugee settlement, south western Uganda.

“I suspected a miscarriage. I was scared and afraid because I loved my pregnancy and I did not want to lose it. So I called the number of the ambulance,” she narrates.

The driver responded very fast and Rebecca says she was picked after a few minutes and taken to Kasonga Health Center III.

“I am grateful for the assistance I received through the ambulance service because I was able to reach the health center on time where I received all the treatment that I required. I am happy that my baby was saved.”

Now six months pregnant, Rebecca receives antenatal care services from Malembo Health center II. She appreciates the efforts of the volunteers who constantly follow up with her and other expecting mothers to make sure they are receiving services from the health facility.

According to Mr. Owundu Thomas the health facility in- charge Kasonga health center III, the continuous involvement of Village Health Teams (VHTs), volunteers and health workers through outreaches and sensitizations has resulted in a positive and promising response from the community.

“We now have more mothers accessing and utilizing services like antenatal care and this has resulted in zero maternal and neonatal deaths in Kasonga health center III since interventions under UNFPA started,” he said.

Written by Desmond Sekweya (with support from the LWF team in Kyangwali)