Each week, the Te-Kworo Maternal and Child Health clinic saves lives. The cultural acceptance of early marriage in northern Uganda and other places leads to high maternal mortality among girls and young women, and high rates of infant death. Without even simple medical care and interventions, they often die from preventable complications.
These patients are teenage girls like Mercy, from Pawatomero village in Purongo Sub County, who was married off at the age of 14 and became pregnant before her pelvis was developed enough to safely give birth.
Mercy had struggled to give birth the first time and delivered by caesarian section. The second time, when she was not yet 18, she was home alone and heavily pregnant when she started life-threatening bleeding, with blood clots and dizziness. Isolated in the village without a phone or family nearby, she lay helplessly in a pool of blood, until her husband came home. He rushed his barely conscious wife to the nearest health facility, where a midwife examined her and found the bleeding was caused by a partial separation of the placenta. She was anaemic, with both her life and that of the unborn baby now at risk without more skilled assistance at a higher level health facility.
Thanks to generous supporters from Australia there was now an ambulance in the district, where previously Mercy and her baby would have perished. The Te-Kworo team arranged an emergency referral from Purongo to Lacor Hospital in Gulu District, with Sharon, an MCH midwife, monitoring her condition and that of the baby on the way. At Lacor Hospital, Mercy was examined by a doctor, who performed an emergency caesarean section and delivered a baby boy in an asphyxiated state, with a low Apgar score. He was quickly put on oxygen and both mother and baby stabilized before being released to return to their home.
“I thank Te-Kworo so much for the support that they provided at the time that I was desperately in need of an emergency referral, my family could not afford hiring a car to take me that far for better management”. Mercy Adongpiny