We often associate pregnancy with happiness and expectation. However, in many developing countries pregnancy can be life-threatening. In 2015, approximately 1,700,000 babies were born in Uganda; around 4,600 every day. However, an average of 15 women die from childbirth-related causes every day.
At Sanctuary Retreats we strive to improve the lives of the local communities in which we operate. As a result, The Waiting Mothers’ Hostel was born with the purpose of abolishing problems related to pregnancy among Batwa women.
Pregnancy is often a time of joy and anticipation. Unfortunately, in resource-limited regions of the world, pregnancy carries the stigma of becoming a life-threatening condition. In developing countries, most of the risks for pregnant women are related to poverty, poor nutrition, a high burden of infectious disease, limited access to care, the lack of understanding about when to seek care, and the great distances mothers have to travel to the nearest medical facility.
Together with our guests at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, we have been working toward eliminating these problems among Batwa women who live near the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.
If a mother is laboring at home and has a complication, walking hours or a day or more to the nearest medical facility can be not only painful but fatal. The idea for a Waiting Mothers’ Hostel, adjacent to the Bwindi Community Hospital, was borne out of concerns from the hospital’s pregnant patients regarding having a safe place to reside until they delivered.
The hospital previously maintained a 28-bed Waiting Mothers’ Hostel where a pregnant mother was provided with a bed, access to a communal kitchen and laundry, as well as education about childbirth and child rearing.
Due to its popularity, the Waiting Mothers’ Hostel required expansion. The previous bed capacity was insufficient; frequently there were mats scattered about the floor for the overflow patients.
With the help of our guests, we have funded the expansion of the Waiting Mothers’ Hostel with construction of a new wing that will house even more expectant mothers on their way to safe deliveries of healthy babies.
The expansion of the Waiting Mothers’ Hostel includes a 2,000 square foot facility and 12 additional beds, bringing the total to 40, for expectant mothers, with additional sleeping space for midwives.
The expansion project will include construction of the new facilities as well as associated furnishings, equipment, and supplies needed for the mothers’ safe and comfortable stay.