“The First 1000 Days of Life: Complementary Feeding”

You can’t hold back your joy when your baby just completed six months of exclusive nursing. At this stage, they may have itchy gums. They show immense interest in eating and will try to grasp food out of your palms. As you start introducing soft foods and porridge in their diets, continue to breastfeed them to two years and beyond.

Variety of food groups mixed in the feeds and Hygienic practices when preparing and feeding your baby should be considered when feeding infants.

Nutritionists Advice

Since you will have to prepare mixtures of at least three food groups per recipe, add breast milk or animal milk to prepare the soft foods but do not add water. Milk being a dominant key ingredient you may consider alternatives.

Actively and patiently feed your baby; Do not force feed!

Soy milk is one such equally nutritious alternative ingredient. It is affordable when homemade. Soya is the only plant protein whose biological value is equal to animal protein. It simply means, all the essential amino acids cow’s milk or eggs have are also contained in soya. It is healthy for all family members. Soya may be used for various other home made products aside from milk. For example, you may make tofu and yoghurts. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started on making your home made soy milk.

How to make home made soy milk

Ingredients:

  1. ½ cup of soya beans
  2. 1litre of water to puree
  3. Flavouring of choice (Vanilla, Chocolate, Lemon, and Ginger etc.)

Equipment: Blender and strainer

Preparation time: 3hours-2hours to soak beans and 45 minutes to make soy milk

Steps to follow:

  1. Sort your soya beans.
  2. Soak the beans in water in an open container for two hours.
  3. Add the beans to a pan and fill up with water slightly to cover.
  4. Heat up the pan on a fire stove until almost to simmer. Do not bring to a rolling boil.
  5. Leave to cool.
  6. Drain and blend the beans to a pulp/puree, slowly adding water.
  7. To the pulp/puree add water stirring well.
  8. Strain out the milk from the pulp.
  9. Boil the milk and flavour to your taste.
  10. Store in cool place.

Storage and uses:

Under cool temperature in a tightly sealed container, the soy milk may take up to 5 days a week. The milk may be used as an ingredient in other recipes for your baby and the family.

Thickness of feeds for your baby, such as porridge, purees and mashed foods shouldn’t be too thin or too thick

Nutritionists’ recommendation

As you prepare your baby’s feeds, always wash your hands with soap under flowing water. Consider using cleaned hands before feeding your baby. Also, use a clean open cup when giving the baby drinking water or any liquid foods. Since bottles, teats or spouted cups can be difficult to clean and may cause illness, do not use these for feeding.  Always offer safe feeds that are not left over.

Too thin too thick is not ideal. See to it that all feeds can stay on the spoon. At 6 complete months, feed your baby at least 3 times a day. From 9 months onwards, feed your baby three to four meals a day. One to two snacks may be offered depending on your baby’s appetite. Snacks should not replace meals and only offer nutritious snacks like an egg, ripe fruits like banana, mango. 

Frequency and Amounts of meals offered to your baby in a day is key during complementary feeding

At 6 months, your baby’s stomach capacity is small, so start with three heaped teaspoons per feed. As the baby grows, you may increase the amount of foods to at least a third of a cup. If your child does not eat with an appetite, consider other foods not tried before. Also, actively and patiently encourage your baby to eat. Track your baby’s feed amounts by using a separate plate while feeding your baby. If your baby is sick, frequently offer additional smaller meals along the day and continue to breastfeed her or him for a faster recovery.

I have also attached a Ugandan recipe originally created in the oldest nutrition units for infants recovering from acute malnutrition. Please consider using it for the magic of feeding a six month old baby beef! Yes, toothless infants can eat meats with the ‘kitobero’ recipe.  https://benarokiria.wordpress.com/2018/08/15/kitoobero-a-six-months-old-infants-recipe/

The First 1000 Days of Life: How to Successfully Breastfeed Your Baby

Globally, breastfeeding is recognized as a vital practice to promote the quality of human life. Infants’ survival and ability to thrive depends on successful breastfeeding. So here are your frequently asked questions and a few pointers to successfully breastfeed your baby.

When can I start to breastfeed my baby? Breastfeed your baby immediately after delivery within one hour.This is essential in making breast milk flow. The first yellow milk protects your baby from illnesses such as diarrhoea and respiratory infections. It improves baby to mother bonding and helps your baby to learn how to feed before it is hungry.

How long should I breastfeed my baby? Exclusively breastfeed your baby for six complete months. Continue to breastfeed your baby to two years and beyond. At six complete months, you should introduce porridges like soya and millet; and soft foods like kitobeero of mashed sweet potatoes with ground nut sauce and mukene.

Giving liquids to an infant of less than six months of age including water is not healthy

Nutritionists

Is breast milk alone enough for my baby? Breast milk provides all the nutrients and water that your baby needs to grow during the first 6 months of life. Give your baby breast milk only for the first six months. Giving your baby foods or any kind of liquids other than breast milk, including infant formula, animal milks, or water before 6 months can damage your baby’s stomach. This reduces the protection that exclusive breastfeeding gives, and all of the benefits that your baby gets from your breast milk. You can give medicines if they are recommended by your health care provider.

How can I increase breast milk for successful breastfeeding?

Good positioning during breastfeeding helps to ensure that your baby suckles well and helps you to produce a good supply of breast milk.

Nutritionists’ recommendation

Breastfeed your baby on demand; both day and night at least 8 to 12 times each day. Frequent feeding will help your body to produce more breast milk. During breastfeeding, ensure that the baby finishes the breast and comes off on his or her own. Offer the other breast and let your baby decide if he or she wants more or not. Breastfeeding more makes the baby get enough milk and grow well. If your baby is ill or sleepy, wake him or her to offer the breast often.

Your baby should attach and latch on to the breast properly. When the baby’s mouth is wide open and you see more of the darker skin (areola) above the baby’s mouth than below; when the baby’s lower lip is turned outwards and the chin is touching mother’s breast, then it is properly attached. Good attachment ensures effective suckling which helps produce more milk and satisfy your baby.

There are four key points about your baby’s position that its body should be:

Straight with the head slightly back,

Face the breast and look up into your face.

Bring the baby close to you.

Support the baby’s whole body with your hand and arm.

Continue to breastfeed your baby if you or the baby are sick to maintain breast milk production. Express breast milk and feed your baby using a clean cup if you develop breast problems, or your baby has difficulty breastfeeding. If your baby is born prematurely, is weak or too small to suckle, has difficulties suckling and if your new born has not started to show interest in suckling yet, you may express directly into the mouth.

How can I continue breastfeeding my baby after returning to work or school?

When you are away from your baby, you may hand express breast milk into a cup and store it in a cool place to feed your baby later. Do not use bottles, teats or spouted cups to feed your baby as these are difficult to clean and may cause illnesses. Ensure to request for a safe and comfortable space at work or school to breastfeed or express breast milk. When you are away from your baby, continue to express throughout the day so that you don’t lose milk supply.You may follow the instructions attached above. Also, visit a health worker to demonstrate how to express breast milk.

How to hand express breast milk for working moms

Store expressed breast milk in a clean covered container until you are ready to feed your baby. Do not store the milk longer than 8 hours.

  1. Wash a cup, its cover under clean water with soap. Sun dry on a rack to kill germs.
  2. Wash hands with clean running water and soap before expressing breast milk
  3. Find a comfortable position in a quiet place.
  4. Put your thumb on breast above the dark area around the nipple and the first finger below and support your breast with the remaining fingers.
  5. Gently press towards the chest wall with your thumb and finger together.
  6. Continue as you empty breast milk into the cup.
  7. If your milk does not come easily, massage your breasts. A warm cloth or drink, or thinking about the baby may help.
  8. Switch to the other breast and repeat.

How should I breast feed my baby during COVID-19?  All babies should continue breast feeding during and after recovery from COVID-19. Breastfeeding mothers infected with COVID-19 should be cared for in the hospital where the health workers will provide the necessary support in feeding their babies. If you have signs of COVID infection observe the standard operating procedures in and out of home. Wash your hands with clean water and soap before breastfeeding and wear a mask while breastfeeding. 

It’s the United Nations Decade of family farming! Are you engaged?

Earnest shared these amazing photos of his kitchen garden and kroilers. I thought they were pretty cool for a status update. He, his wife Kedress and the kids were rearing kroiler chicken at home. The chickens were doing quite okay for first time farmers. Plus with the kids around because of COVID, it seemed one exciting family engagement of the year! They were learning so much together. Sure, he complained about the work it comes with but lucky for him, they were quite enough hands to care for the chicks.

Any waste, they poured onto the kitchen garden. Earnest and the kids tend to a vegetable garden of nakati, sukuma wiki and amaranthus. They intercropped some maize in it. What’s the year’s last harvest season without fresh corn to munch away? And straight from the garden to the roast pit, theirs is truly a season to tell!

Kedress occasionally plants some matooke suckers in the backyard. Afterall, a Mukiga and a plate of steaming matooke are inseparable. Hers, is a garden well-tended to for a ‘town- wife.’ She grew beans and ground nuts this past season. She occasionally travels to the Rukungiri to tend to some eucalyptus she and Earnest grew.

‘Family farming (including all family-based agricultural activities) is the means of organising agricultural, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production which is managed and operated by a family and predominantly reliant on family labour, including both women’s and men’s. The family and the farm are linked, co-evolve and combine economic, environmental, social and cultural functions.’

FAO

Uganda relies predominantly on agriculture. Earnest’s experience is not entirely uncommon. Even in the townships, you find some sort of farming going on. Uganda’s largest population is mostly rural, so a focus on small scale farmers is simply necessary. The United Nations Decade of Family Farming focuses on small scale farmers.  

Family farms avail and provide access to nutritious food aside from generating incomes. Small scale farmers are knowledgeable in the indigenous craft when caring for and tilling land. The UN recognises this and advocates for small scale farmers through a Global Action Plan to achieve the sustainable development goals. 

Hunger and poverty, were the challenges the decade of family farming sought to solve. In 2017 the United Nations General Assembly declared 2019-2028 as the UN Decade of Family Farming (UNDFF). Countries may draw upon the UNDFF to promote investments that support family farming. Investing in small scale farmers at its core promotes the sustainable development agenda. 

Gardening is fun for the kids and this year we’ve spent a lot of time together. Besides having a fresh supply of vegetables all round, we are able to earn an income from the chicken project.

Earnest says

Living in a low income country with a youthful population over scores your need to get involved and understand how as a small scale farmer you fit in. After all, our major livelihood revolves around farming in Uganda.

Should Ugandans have a national dietary guide?

You just bought your daily newspaper, are you confident the nutrition advice you read is accurate? Do you watch television excerpts of ‘herbalists’ offering nutrition supplements and second guess their effectiveness? Are you that parent that ever wonders if those school meals are right for your child’s growth? Or do you think the food industry ought to fit within certain recommendations for your own health? Well, it is justified, you are only concerned about your health. Shouldn’t these service providers be too! How then should they ensure that the services offered promote healthy eating among the general public they serve?

The World Health Organisation provides guidelines that cater for specific categories within populations to promote healthy eating and lifestyles that prevent any form of malnutrition and chronic diseases. However, every country adapts guidelines that are used to help the general public make informed, healthy lifestyle and food choices that prevent malnutrition and chronic diseases.

So as expected, Uganda should have guidelines that are used by policymakers and health professionals including nutritionists to inform health and nutrition programs or even policies that help the general public adopt healthy eating patterns and live healthy lifestyles. Whereas these guidelines are meant for prevention of disease and not treatment of disease, health professionals may adapt these guidelines to encourage healthy eating patterns among their patients. These guidelines could ensure consistence with any publications of dietary guidance including the media.  

We do not have national dietary guidelines! Why? You ask. After all, non-communicable diseases are increasingly on the rise. A national survey conducted by the Ministry of Health in 2014 showed that 1 in 10 adults had more than three risk factors for non- communicable diseases. I couldn’t be more disappointed to inform you that, I do not know why either.

These risk factors are; a diet with less than five servings of fruit and/or vegetables a day, less or an equivalent of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, a raised blood pressure, being overweight or obese and smoking. Yes people, smoking!

Now, sidebar, in East Africa, only Kenya has national dietary guidelines. These guidelines contribute to efforts of progress on the global nutrition targets (which include addressing diabetes among the adult populations, a non-communicable disease). Failure to have enacted dietary guidelines may revolve around reluctance to commit to nutrition as country. Whereas Uganda committed to the realisation of the right to adequate food, the country has not yet enacted into law any policy on nutrition. Not that we aren’t on our way there, it is a complicated issue to be discussed on another day, plus maybe it just is not a priority. End of side bar!

Nevertheless, a recently published Presidential Initiative on Healthy Eating and Healthy Lifestyle was released that provides the basics to a call for action of key messaging that would otherwise be included in a national dietary guide. It is important to note, this initiative was published to promote healthy eating and lifestyle practices in households and communities as one of its three key objectives. Although it cannot substitute the role of the national dietary guidelines, in the land of the blind, the one eyed man surely is king.

Lots of research will prove how having the dietary guidelines in place positively impact on the general health of populations. Maybe sometime soon, hopefully, you may comfortably sip from your favourite energy drink fully confident that the manufacturer put your health before business and conformed to consistence with the Uganda national dietary guidelines.

Kitchen gardening as an option in the COVID-19 lock down

Let’s put a little nutrition in the stay home period as we wait out the COVID-19 pandemic.  Here’s why you should grow a kitchen garden during the stay home period;

  • You have the time
  • You will soon run out on fresh vegetables
  • Gardening is a fun and fulfilling activity to spend time

However, for most of us; gardening sure seems too tedious and quite the blur especially for those that have never done it.  So, ‘how do I get started?’ Well lucky for you, here’s a step by step flow on cultivating your own kitchen garden.

Step 1

You may need to choose leafy vegetables and herbs that take relatively a shorter period to harvest and can be harvested several times; examples include; cow peas, spinach, amaranthus, sukuma wiki

Sukuma wiki ready for harvest
Photo by Fred Nuwagaba

Step 2

Clearing the ground if you have a backyard garden. If not, you may need to fill up some pots or sacks with soil positioning them in the sun light.

Step 3

Work the soil and soften its texture. Mix up the top layers with the bottom. If possible, add black loamy soil to your pot.

Step 4

Plant your seeds in the now prepared soil.

Step 5

Water the plants daily; early in the day or late in the evening and wait.

In relatively five to eight days all vegetables should have germinated. Cow peas should have grown tender leaves ready for harvesting in three weeks. Sukuma wiki should take a month to harvest. Spinach and amaranthus will take four to five weeks.

A kitchen garden with Sukuma wiki
Photo by Apio Benardate

There are some tips you may consider to improve the quality of your vegetables. Weeding is important as you go along. Mulching especially for vegetables planted directly in the back yard is suitable for water conservation. You may consider controlling pests organically or by spraying.

Leafy vegetables such as those chosen above may be harvested several times lasting up to three months.

Amaranthus after three weeks
Photo by Nicholas Opiri

So enjoy your vegetables with several recipes.

‘Kitoobero’ – A Six months old Infant’s Recipe

Kitobeero

(Featured Image by Prossy Nabachenje, Acire Peter and Wangwe Samuel)

I recently had field work activities that involved demonstration classes in food preparation for mothers whose children were starting to eat food other than breast milk. Yes, its complementary feeding. (You can google it!)

Any way, complementary feeding comes with a lot of issues. Just ask moms! In light of solving one issue- ‘how do you give toothless infants food that isn’t Irish potatoes?’

Well, if you are one unfortunate mom whose made it to a nutrition unit you probably know the recipe- (the working mom, apparently their infants are contributing to the cases of severe acute malnutrition. Its not news anymore!).

So I was requested by a number to share the magic recipe. I also learnt this recipe from Mwana mugimu Nutrition Unit in Mulago. Hmm, our own- very Ugandan magic recipe to keep Infants well nourished. Hope you try it out. And if you can call a nutritionist to do a practical session one-on-one.

‘Kitoobero’
(2 proteins- 1 carbohydrate)

Ingredients
2 proteins (1 Legume + 1 animal protein)
1 carbohydrate
Iodized table salt
Water

Special Equipment – Tiffini (aka box* in local language)

Cooking Time – 1 hour and 30 minutes

Method (e.g Beans+ Silver fish and Cassava)
1. Place 2 palms of uncased beans in the tiffini
2. Add 1 teaspoon of silver fish
3. To the tiffini, add 1 palm of cassava cubes
4. Add a pinch of salt
5. Add water to cover (excess is better since it can be poured off after cooking)
6. Cover the tiffini tightly to seal
7. Cook by steaming method

Serving
1. Pour off excess water and safely store
2. Mash to a fine mixture (Use the excess water if necessary)
3. Serve half for one meal
4. Safely store the balance for the next meal

Previous Preparation
1. Pound the dry silver fish to a powder
2. Soak the beans in water overnight to soften bean casings
3. Remove the bean casings to expose the seeds
4. Peel cassava tubers and slice them into cubes

If beef, goat’s meat, fish, mutton, lamb, liver etc. measure a fist – Scrape all meats with a knife after measuring a fist
Slice all tubers before measuring a palm
Soak all dry legumes overnight to remove seed casing
You may use raw eggs beaten or milk as a liquid in place of an animal protein
Pound ground nuts into a powder and measure in palms
Possible recipes include (Cowpeas+ chicken and yams, ground nuts+ liver and matooke, green peas+ egg and millet, etc.)

And there you have it, do not feed your infants soup while you lavish on beef for the unfair excuse that they are toothless! Now you know, do the right way for your precious little one.

You think you have ‘grown fat’

I peek into the mirror, look up to my torso and ‘behind’. I hold my waist, throw in a sway and turn sideways before I fake a smile or frown. I may nod in agreement or disagreement presumed on an unclear difference of the previous and present woman in the mirror. Well, we all fret the weight issue. For most of us, the weight gain.

How much should you not exceed? How do you even tell if you have increased weight or not? Please excuse the most obvious or sometimes even ridiculous ways we all do it. Have you ever stopped at the clinic to do it with a nutritionist present to explain your result? If not, you probably should. In any case, this is what you should know.

Measurements of weight and height when taken are aligned together to determine your Body Mass index (BMI) – a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height. This index simple tells us if your weight is healthy for you. Everyone is categorized underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. BMI can be calculated from the two measurements. This takes time. If a BMI wheel is used instead, it saves time, is simple to use and direct. In fact, it can easily tell the borders you should not exceed.

BMI however, will not apply to a pregnant mother, a mother breastfeeding for less than 6 months, an amputated person, or a child. Children should use BMI for age, the same wheel with age range. An estimated BMI for amputees may be calculated. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers will use a Mid Upper Arm circumference.

There are rules to follow when taking your weight;

Take your measurement early in the morning before breakfast.

You may want to wear lighter clothing that day.

Use the same weight scale in case you are monitoring your weight.

This is an ideal scenario. Haidar goes to the clinic on a lovely Saturday morning and requests for a ‘weight’ measurement. The nutritionist requests him to empty his pockets, remove his copper watch and shoes. He steps onto the weight scale and a reading is taken (62kilograms). He then steps onto the height board a second reading is taken (1.6metres). Now these readings are aligned on the BMI wheel and a final reading (24kilgrams/metres2) is given to Haidar. The nutritionist explains the reading to Haidar. He is of normal weight. He however should not exceed a weight of 65kilograms otherwise, he would be overweight. If he lost weight, it is not healthy to exceed below 47kilograms because he would be underweight.

Remember, consulting with a nutritionist if you are outside your normal weight is wise. Being above or below your normal weight is unhealthy. An underweight person is at risk of falling ill easily and often, reduced fertility for both men and women, failing to grow and develop normally for children.

An overweight or obese person is at risk of diseases such as; high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

So find out if you have grown fat, it’s that simple!

Uganda’s Newest Baby on Block!

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Photo by Benardate A Okiria

So am excited, of course, along with many others about the recently launched National Integrated Early Childhood Development policy (NIECD). Naturally, because I argue the impeccable and irrefutable contribution of nutrition to the growth and development of children in their early years. This integration includes health, education, protection, water and sanitation, and family support apart from nutrition.

Uganda undoubtedly has several policies guiding development. NIECD is an addition uniquely calling for a multi-sector collaboration. Yes I have to give it to us, truly congratulations to all those behind this new baby on block. I have surely fallen for this one.

The NIECD policy aside from integration caters for children in the ages from conception to 8 years. Factually from minus, zero years to ‘not-Five’, but Eight! Its guiding principles and policy actions designed enable children to grow and develop to achieve better their full potential. Take for instance policy action 6.2,

Government of Uganda shall ensure that all households are food secure and have proper nutrition for proper child growth and development.

It is one of the pillars and foundation for human development. A sure contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals without a doubt! In my opinion, a policy at the heart of the sustainable development agenda.

So, now that we have it around. How do we apply it to create the impact we all want to see? What does this policy mean to the average Ugandan citizen? Take for instances; an expecting mama Booyi in my village in Atiira or Katiini, the street kid at Clock tower on Entebbe road. What could this policy mean in their daily lives?

Yes, NIECD has an action plan just as any other policy to finally trickle-down effect to the very last young citizen in the country. Sources of funding to implement, who participates to implement, clear accountability lines, what to measure to ensure policy effectiveness, all mentioned in this plan.

Uganda will however have its challenges in implementing this astoundingly ingenious policy. Like any other of course, dawdling communication down to the average citizen is most likely. So let us embrace this one. I rally all of us to receive it with enthusiasm, advocate for it, take up and demand accountability. Let us give our children the best start in life.

Join the Campaign and advocate for #BestStartInLife #NutritionSavesLife on Social Media!

Meet me. I inspire. I move. I lead!

Hello! Meet me if you care to know me that is!

I was recruited to effectively envision an agenda in my country.

To know it. To understand it.  To implement it.

An agenda that I strongly believe I contribute to.

 

I am placed in a host organization to serve an apprenticeship for a period.

To be refined. Sharpened.  And develop skills with precision to achieve that which I was recruited for.

To undertake tasks. Support activities. Work in teams.

Trained. To solve problems. To be creative.

Time and again am called in by my recruiters,

To be assessed. Measured. To evaluate the effect of the exposure.

I should fit an expected class of competencies.

 

And yes, there are experiences that work me out

Sometimes it’s rough, I have to out dare circumstance

I choke on expectations. I strain to meet targets.

Heard of double reporting lines? Double loyalty? You surely must relate.

So yes, sometimes I am in the twilight zone. Moved out of balance.

At least, I have been advised to do yoga!

 

I have learnt by heart the vocation in context in just a fraction of years’ experience.

Imagine the possibility of a young innovative mind matched with years’ experience.

All these skills, I have harnessed for a career I look forward to.

To be ahead of the rest, to stand out of the crowd countless times,

It is a privilege, amazing!

To learn from the ‘corporate elite’ in line of duty.

 

Soon I will graduate out of the fellowship, I am proud to have achieved.

Am confident to pick up the fight against malnutrition. Up to it, indeed!

I should be the winner in all of this! But Uganda is the winner in it all!

It gains effective human resource, next in line, to drive the nutrition agenda.

There are more like me. Holders in nutrition. Advocates for Nutrition.

Adept in Communicating. Trained Innovators. Accountable Leaders.

So, meet me, am a Nutrition fellow!

I inspire. I move. I lead!

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Uganda

Uganda Nutrition Fellowship 2015 (Photo by Rebecca Namara)

 

A journey made fortunate when the waters broke!

‘She is pushing in the bus!’ a passenger so ecstatic screamed.

‘Who?’ ‘What?’ ‘Here?’ as the bus went crazy in sheer euphoria.

Only 22 minutes to Soroti Regional Referral Hospital on a 90km/hour highway coach from Lira and there we saw it all. It was the birth of a fighter. One who paused our world momentarily for over 15 minutes! 71 of us! An entire bus schedule delayed! She robbed us of our time just so she could take her first breath.

In less than an hour, beautiful ‘YY’ received her first meal. And as she suckled at her mother’s breast, it was decided that she would receive her first vaccine in Mbale hospital two hours away en route to Tororo, her final destination. Ayoo’s father who was eagerly awaiting his fierce princess had been phoned on his wife’s fortunate journey the moment her waters broke.

When ‘Sunday’ dropped, her mother still strong from the throes of child birth embarked on her journey to Tororo as if to diminish the painful and rewarding experience. She walked smiling into the bus with the help of her self- appointed courageous maidens from the shack she had been hurriedly pulled into after a quick clean up and change.

This was last Sunday as I travelled to Mbale town from Lira for a nutrition workshop. It had turned out the journey of a lifetime.

‘Was her delivery safe?’ I asked myself. ‘Will baby Ayo receive her BCG vaccine? When will this birth be registered?

These questions never left me for the next two hours to my final destination.

In Uganda, an estimated 6 for every 10 mothers give birth attended by a skilled provider. Only 2 for every 10 mothers receive a post natal check- up within the first hour of delivery and still, 3 for every 10 mothers receive a check up in the first two days after giving birth(Unicef 2015)

Giving birth in the absence of a skilled provider increases the chance of maternal and child mortality if arising complications are not skillfully handled. It also reduces the chances of registering newborns at birth. An estimated 4 for every 10 children under five years are not registered at birth.

Health facilities with trained health workers and drugs are therefore critical in reducing mortality at birth, safe for both the mother and newborn especially because birth registration has been named the first step towards protecting children (Unicef, 2015). Delivery at the health facility ensures early initiation of breastfeeding which comes with immense health and psychosocial benefits.

Giving birth at health facilities should be planned for, financially emotionally and psychologically. Mothers and their spouses ought to take decisions together at households all through pregnancy for better health outcomes for both the mother and her newborn.

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Created by Benardate