STRIDES for Family Health: Our Impact

 {Photo credit: Rui Pires}Mpigi STRIDES program, Vaccine Day.Photo credit: Rui Pires

STRIDES for Family Health is wrapping up six years of work in Uganda with “impressive” results in reducing malnutrition and expanding access to and improving the quality of integrated reproductive health, family planning, and child survival services. Achievements between 2009 and 2015 included: reaching 614,338 children under the age of five through nutrition programs, achieving average cure rates for moderate malnutrition of 80 percent in some districts; reaching 921,112 new family planning users and serving 720,674 returning clients;

 {Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH.}A village health team referred Makeba (pictured with her daughters) to a health center for family planning services.Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH.

Thirty-year-old Miriam Makeba and her husband, Mujulizi Dan, struggle to provide for their two daughters, aged six and two years. Living in the Kyenjojo district of Uganda, Makeba is a stay-at-home mother and her husband is a boda-boda motorcycle taxi driver. Dan works from dusk till dawn to bring home the little money he makes throughout the day. Many days, however, he comes home without a shilling in his pocket and the family has to go without supper.

 {Photo credit: Rui Pires.}A woman receiving antenatal care undergoes an ultrasound at Mpigi Health Center IV in Uganda.Photo credit: Rui Pires.

Annette Mbwirahe didn’t know what was wrong—the pain in her lower abdomen wasn’t getting any better. Finally, unable to endure it, she decided to get help. Mbwirahe, 25, left Buyiwa village and went to Buwama Health Center III in the Mpigi district of Uganda where midwife Zura Kyotazaala examined her with an ultrasound scan. “I discovered that she was carrying a seven-week twin pregnancy,” Kyotazaala said.

 {Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH.}Dorothy Mugisha (left) with Olivia Nkundabanyanga and her new baby.Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH.

Dorothy Mugisha is a 36-year-old resident of Nyabbani II village in Kamwenge district, Uganda. Trained as a village health team member in 2010 by the USAID-funded STRIDES for Family Health, Dorothy understands the importance of delivering at a health facility. She counsels women on the importance of antenatal care, delivering at the facility, and the benefits of modern family planning–and helps pregnant women access these services at a health facility. 

 {Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH.}A health worker trained by USAID-funded STRIDES provides modern family planning services in Kagando Hospital, Kasese district.Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH.

Forty-two-year-old Mbambu Medius lives in Kyampogo village in Kasese District, Uganda. She has 11 children and recently decided, with her husband’s support, to have the minilaparotomy procedure to permanently end her fertility. When asked why she chose this method, Mbambu said, “I fear I will not be able to look after my children well if I continue having more. I feel tired most of the time and cannot do much to add to my husband’s little income.”

Nakubulwa, one of the midwives trained by STRIDES, conducts antenatal care services during an outreach visit in Mityana district. {Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH.}

 After giving birth to her third child, Margaret Nalubega wanted to take time to support her business and aptly care for her children--which meant delaying becoming pregnant again.To find out what her contraceptive options were, Nalubega visited Mityana hospital and had a lengthy conversation on family planning with Sarah Nakubulwa, a midwife.After counseling on all available methods of contraception, Nalubega decided to use the intrauterine device (IUD) to prevent future pregnancies.The IUD will prevent Nalubega from becoming pregnant for up to 12 years, giving her time to attend to her

A woman from the Positive Deviance Hearth program educates women on good nutrition practices. {Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH.}

Living in a wobbly shack with mud walls and a grass roof has not deterred Tushemerirwe Esparanza from becoming a change agent in the fight against child malnutrition in her village of Nantungo, in Lwebitakuli Sub County Uganda. Tushemerirwe has helped teach her home village that balanced nutrition is important for children’s health and development—malnutrition is responsible for nearly 60 percent of infant deaths in Uganda. But spreading that message was not easy for her at first.“When I was starting out, many women despised me.

Imulani Mutyaba, a village health team member, meets with Nabasumba Scovia and her family. {Photo credit: T. Atuhura/MSH.}Photo credit: T. Atuhura/MSH.

Kyobe Sawula and Nakasumba Scovia, residents of Bekiina village in Mityana district, Uganda, are the parents of three children. They recently decided to start using depo provera, an injectable form of contraception, and say they now feel in control of their family and future.This was not the situation four years ago, said Scovia: “Having conceived at only 17 years of age, I was forced into marriage.” After delivering her first child, Scovia accidentally conceived when her baby was only six months.

Sam Kafumbirwango and Doreen Nabukenya talking in Bekiina village, Uganda. {Photo credit: MSH}Photo credit: MSH

Doreen Nabukenya, a Ugandan woman living in Bekiina village, had her first child at the age of 17. She couldn't afford the fees to complete school.

James Tenywa in Uganda. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

James Tenywa, a 43-year-old shop owner living in the eastern region district of Kamuli in Uganda, is the father of ten children and husband to two wives. After his tenth child, James realized how hard it was to provide food, shelter and education for his children and he felt he was having trouble supporting such a large family.He heard people in his village talk about family planning -- including the option of a vasectomy as a method available for men. However, it was rare for men in the village to take part in family planning.