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20 September 2023 - News



Save the Children Uganda with the generous support of the Peoples Postcode Lottery (PPL) through the Saving Women and Preterm Babies project (SWAP) has handed over an oxygen manifold system to support delivery of oxygen to mothers during delivery and newborns to improve their survival.

SWAP is a three-year project being implemented by Save the Children in five health facilities in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono districts. This is implemented with partnership from the Ministry of Health (MOH), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Global Strategies Inc, and Vayu Global Health Foundation, among others. The project focuses on supporting the delivery and institutionalization of evidence-based lifesaving interventions for pregnant women with complications that can potentially lead to premature birth, and for small and sick newborns.

“I wish to register our most sincere appreciation to our partners SAVE the Children, who so generously have provided this Oxygen manifold, one of its kind in all our 8 health facilities and costing a whooping USD 30,000, slightly over one hundred million Uganda shillings,” said Dorothy Kisaka, Kampala Capital City Authority Executive Director. 

“Beyond this equipment, SAVE the children has offered lifesaving equipment to the facility especially for the newborn and maternal care including radiant warmers, phototherapy machines, pulse oximeters, incubators, among others to improve the care of mothers and newborns, Ms Kisaka said, adding, “SAVE the Children has also ensured capacity building and development of our Health workers through onsite mentorships.”

Key features of the program to health facilities include pre-partum identification and management of pregnant women with complications, essential care for all newborns and management of preterm labour, facility-based care for small and sick newborns and strengthening use of data for decision making through Quality Improvement (QI) processes to improve care for small and sick newborns and pregnant women.

Most maternal and neonatal mortality in Uganda is preventable through evidence-based and effective clinical interventions. Haemorrhage (45%), hypertensive disorders in pregnancy (13%), malaria, HIV, severe anaemia, and other infections (11%), and pregnancy-related sepsis contribute largely to maternal mortality. Over 70% of neonatal mortality is due to preterm birth complications, intrapartum related events (mainly asphyxia), and sepsis.

The annual Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response (MPDSR) report for 2020-2021 showed that Kampala recorded the highest number of institutional perinatal deaths in the country, double the national figure of 20.2 deaths per 1,000 live births. Early neonatal deaths had the greatest contribution to perinatal deaths, with birth asphyxia and prematurity contributing the highest, 28% and 15% respectively. This huge burden underscores the need to strengthen management of preterm birth and care for small and sick newborns across the continuum of pregnancy care.

Save the Children Program Development and Quality Director, Dave Greenhalgh, conveyed his enthusiasm for the Oxygen Manifold system's significance in the lives of mothers and children.

“The Oxygen Manifold system that we are launching today is not just a piece of equipment, it is a lifeline. It is a symbol of hope, resilience, and progress. This system represents a significant leap forward in our ability to provide high quality medical care, especially to those in critical need,” Dave said.

“Save the Children is proud to pledge our ongoing efforts to ensure the efficient operation of the Oxygen Manifold and provide essential training to healthcare workers in accordance with the National Oxygen Scale-up Plan. Save the Children, has also recently refurbished the Neonatal care unit, making it more baby friendly. We view this achievement as a significant milestone and hope to see this model replicated in other healthcare centres,” he added.

Save the Children is committed to achieving our Health and Nutrition goal under our Country Strategic Plan where all children aged 0-5 years have a healthy and nurturing start to life. Together with children, families, communities and government, we continue to put a focus on health programs and advocate for policies that improve maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition, end hunger, and prevent and treat childhood illnesses.

 For more information contact

Violet Birungi – Head of Health and Nutrition, Save the Children