The Barriers I See in Bundibugyo

Photo by Esimundara Yeremia

The following post is from Esimundara Yeremia, a coordinator at Child Development Center in Bundibugyo, Western Uganda. He responded to the recent No Joke. Choice Matters. Everywhere. video that we shared with a few thoughts on barriers he sees in his work.

We thank very much Pathfinder for keeping us updated, particularly on the barriers women face in this world. We have enjoyed the video you sent to us, and community members have appreciated it very much.

We see similar barriers in our community in Bundibugyo district including:

1. Work overload for expecting mothers: With so many women and families in poverty, many women are overloaded with work when they are pregnant to try to make ends meet for their families.
2. Distance from home to health centers: Rural women suffer during the time of delivery due to long distances to travel to health centers and the nature of our area is mountainous (Mt. Rwenzori). Some pregnant women are still carried on a chair tied on sticks as a means of transporting them to health centers during delivery and at times they die along the way.
3. Poor feeding during pregnancy: Many women do not have access to a range of nutritional food; that jeopardizes their health and their child.
4. Cost: Some women fail to attend antenantal services due to the cost of transport, medical gloves, or other needs that their families cannot afford.
5. Lack of education: Some women  are afraid to attend antenatal services due to lack of education about what occurs during a visit and fear of being tested for HIV/AIDS.
6. Inadequate health facilities and trained providers: Health facilities lack maternity wards or other services and lack of trained midwives and other providers lead women to turn to traditional birth attendants who might be unskilled in delivery.
7. Lack of supplies: Many women do not have mosquito nets to protect themselves from malaria and sickness, as well as lack of family planning supplies and services.

These barriers have caused pregnant women in our community to suffer needlessly. I look forward to a day when these barriers are overcome and all women can access the reproductive health services they need and deserve.

Esimundara Yeremia is a coordinator at Child Development Center (CDC) in Bundibugyo, Uganda. The Child Development Center is a community-based organization focused on improving the lives of marginalized children, protecting children’s rights, expanding women’s empowerment (ie, family planning sensitization, encouraging women to attend antenatal care, and HIV counseling and testing).

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