A calling to save lives of mothers and newborns

Sweden's Ambassador to Uganda Urban Andersson presents the Midwives4All Award to Sister Mary Dolorita

Sweden’s Ambassador to Uganda Urban Andersson presents the Midwives4All Award to Sister Mary Dolorita

Sister Mary Dolorita Kasubo of Little Sisters of St Francis in Asisi Kamuli District is awarded for her commitment and dedication to maternal and child health, and for her expertise in diagnosing complicated pregnancies and deliveries. Serving as a midwife for 53 years, Sister Mary Dolorita now works as a supervisor for midwifery students, mentoring in hygiene, delivering and counselling practices. Services which she herself describes as ”a calling to save lives of mothers and newborns”.

Through the award, the Embassy of Sweden in Uganda and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Sweden in collaboration with the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) want to recognise the tremendous efforts made by thousands of midwives everyday across Uganda – often under challenging circumstances, and celebrate an outstanding individual performance.

Writing in Uganda’s New Vision newspaper, Sweden’s ambassador to Uganda Urban Andersson explains how midwifery is an essential piece of a greater global puzzle.

Recognition is a cornerstone in the Midwives4All campaign. Through the campaign, we want to recognise the tremendous efforts made by thousands of midwives every day across Uganda – often under challenging circumstances – and to acknowledge an outstanding individual contribution.

Last year, Uganda was the first country to receive the Midwives4All award for ‘Excellence in Midwifery and Outstanding Contribution to Maternal and New-born Health.’ The award was instrumental in putting the importanc

e of investing in midwifery on the agenda, and in 2016 a total of 12 midwives will be recognized globally; including in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Kosovo – and Uganda.

The 2015 winner was Rose Aciro, who works at Lira Regional Referral Hospital. One year after Rose received the award, I met her at the International Day of the Midwife in Arua, and I was very happy to hear how the award has helped attract more students to the midwifery profession in Lira.

This year, the award brings us to Kamuli Mission Hospital, where Sister Mary Dolorita has worked for more than 15 years. In selecting Sister Mary Dolorita, the award committee emphasized her expertise in diagnosing and treating complicated pregnancies and deliveries, and her strong commitment to teach students and pass on her knowledge to new generations of midwives.

The new Sustainable Development Goals are ambitious: By 2030, the maternal mortality rate is to be reduced by half. For Uganda, this means a decrease in the maternal mortality rate from the current 438 to 219 deaths per 100 000 live births.

An increase in the number of trained midwives will be central in achieving this goal. Sweden has a long and strong tradition of support to maternal health – globally and in Uganda, where Swedish development cooperation supports maternal health with a specific focus on strengthening midwifery training institutions, and training and bonding midwives in hard to reach areas.

We focus on midwifery because midwives are central agents of change in combating maternal and child mortality, and because midwifery addresses the close link between maternal health and gender equality.

It is my hope that the 2016 midwives4all award will continue to stimulate debate about the central role that midwives play in strengthening the health and rights of women and girls. Let’s together make sure that women and girls across Uganda fully enjoy their reproductive rights and have access to safe deliveries in the hands of a skilled midwife.

Embassy of Sweden in Uganda