Please tell us a little bit about yourself
I am a young nurse leader, writer, and Rotarian who is passionate about maternal and child health, medical journalism, nursing education, and patient and public health education. I have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Makerere University and recently completed my pre-licensure internship at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital.
What inspired you to write the My Pregnancy Book? And what do you hope your audience will take away from it?
My Pregnancy, a pregnancy guide for all women is a simple handbook intended to deliver basic pregnancy-related health information to women, couples, and the general public. It also serves as an antenatal class guide for midwives.
I was inspired to write the book during my third year midwifery rotation at Kawempe National Referral Hospital. While there, I realized that the information midwives shared with mothers during the antenatal care talks was insufficient. This was partly due to staff shortages combined with the overwhelming number of mothers who came to the hospital for antenatal care. As a result, contact time with every mother was less than 10 minutes. To add to this, antenatal classes were held in groups, the midwives rushed through the topics, and there was limited time to respond to questions and interact with the mothers. In some cases, even the mothers were in a hurry to leave as they were busy. The goal of antenatal care classes is rarely achieved in such situations. Witnessing this inspired me to think of other more efficient and innovative ways to deliver health information to mothers.
My initial idea was to create antenatal care videos that mothers could access at their convenience online and in hospitals. It required engagement with actors and more resources than were available to me. Despite this, I began writing video scripts which I then shared with our course coordinator, outlining my goals and plan. Based on our discussions, we decided to combine the scripts and publish them as a handbook. The book was published in February 2019 and patented with the Uganda National Library. It was submitted to the technical working group in the ministry of health for approval and awaits adoption for nationwide use. So far, we have sold close to 300 copies in bookshops and clinics with gynecologists, midwives, and mothers recommending it for use.
Through My Pregnancy, mothers now have antenatal health information at their fingertips in the comfort of their homes and workplaces. Additionally, it has helped midwives in organizing their antenatal care classes. Once the resources are available, I want to create video clips from the book so that more people have access to this needed information. Such innovations are a true definition of nurses’ ability to identify health challenges and find practical, achievable, and sustainable solutions.
You recently started hosting virtual antenatal workshops, what has that experience been like?
There is an increasing need for antenatal care information especially now with the disruptions caused by COVID-19. The My Pregnancy team came up with a campaign, “Antenatal Ku Sunday,” that provides free online antenatal classes and consultations by doctors, nurses, and midwives with the goal of ensuring women have positive pregnancy experiences. An average of 30 mothers attend every Sunday.
*In November this year, the My Pregnancy handbook was nominated among the top three health innovations of the year at the Heroes in Health Awards. Through support from Seed Global Health, Martin and his team have been able to provide the free online antenatal care to mothers who need it.
**Photo credit: Martin Lubega