Betty Akullu: Alumnus Works and Change Projects

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In 1998, Betty who hails from Lira, northern Uganda started her journey as a midwife. It was a childhood dream come true. “In the first two years of my work I could count the number of women I attended to. Later it become impossible to keep track of the numbers.” During this journey Betty experienced the joy of good delivery outcomes but also the pain of watching many women die due to preventable causes. “I witnessed women who slipped into death while talking. Asking for water and calling to me and looking at me painfully. These are very painful memories that linger in Betty’s mind as if it were just yesterday. 

Such horrible outcomes made Betty more committed to serve and save lives. Therefore it is not surprising that the bold steps in her career advancement landed Betty at Save the Mothers Masters of Public Health Leadership, Uganda Christian University - Mukono. 

akullu“I used to think that if I deliver many women I would end maternal deaths. I thought that to save mothers, only skills in management of pregnancy, labour and delivery is what mattered. I joined this program to learn what role I could play to end maternal deaths.” Betty revealed this at her graduation ceremony in March 2019. “I later realized that the biggest cause of maternal death is not in the labor ward but in the community that needs empowerment.”

Armed with skills from the MPHL program Betty set out to establish partnerships with existing structures in her community. Because now she knew that beyond midwifery skills other factors such as culture and views that child birth is a women’s issue yet they yield low decision making power create barriers to safe motherhood. 

Betty interested the leadership of Abako sub-county, Alebtong district, northern Uganda in her MPHL study that was on teenage pregnancies in this community.  “I held dissemination meetings with Abako sub-county leaders and later with stakeholders at the sub-county and district. The sub-county chief picked interest in my study findings. He lobbied Plan International who have now started a project called Stop Teenage Pregnancies and Early Marriages in Abako sub-county. This project was launched in February 2019 in response to my research.” 

The MPHL broadened Betty’s perspective to addressing maternal and child health issues. She discovered that besides midwives delivering many women, multi-disciplinary professionals have to be involved to increase visibility of safe motherhood issues in communities. This drives implementation of research and evidence based interventions for improved maternal and child health. 

Betty who walked the midwifery journey for about 14 years currently lectures safe motherhood on the public health course at Lira University, northern Uganda. This is an avenue to build capacity of students to appreciate the approach of multi-disciplinary professionals in addressing MCH issues.

Teopista Agutu – Communication and Networking Director, Save the Mothers East Africa

Friendships Matter in Maternal & Child Health

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Dr Miriam Mutabazi (center), Director Save the Mothers (STM) East Africa catches a photo moment with the Bozeman team during a recent visit to STM, at Mirembe Hall, Uganda Christian University, Mukono.
Bozeman team: Heidi Godwin, Kelly Damberger, Hillary Elder and Haleigh Peterson.

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ruth smallMy name is Ruth Kiwummulo and am doing a Master’s degree in Public Health Leadership (Save the Mothers) in my first module.

Am a trained medical Laboratory Technologist and I have worked since 2016 to date at Central Public Health Laboratories.

Save the Mothers

Uganda Christian University
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P.O. Box 4, Mukono, Uganda

Telephone:+256 312 350 800 /840
Email Us: savethermothers@ucu.ac.ug OR mimmutabazi@gmail.com
University Web: www.ucu.ac.ug

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