Mother Francisca Lechner health unit – Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Charity in Uganda

The Mother Francisca Lechner health unit belongs to the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Charity since 1999 and provides medical services to the local population of 31’574 poor farmers in the rural area of the Ntungamo district in Uganda. The current health unit provides mainly out-patient services; ante-natal care and comprehensive HIV/AIDS care; treatment and support services, including Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ARVS).

Maternal and child mortality are very high in Uganda, especially for young mothers. Although the mortality rate of infants and children under 5 has been declining since the 1990’s, neonatal and maternal mortality has remained high in the last years. To combat this high neonatal and maternal death rate, the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Charity started this new project to build a maternity ward to be able to offer help to expectant and new mothers throughout their journey into motherhood. In the past, a yearly average of 530 expectant mothers would have to be referred to a different hospital that is 25 kilometres away for the birth of their children, leading to numerous complications and many mothers deciding to give birth at home without assistance. This new maternity ward will consist of 16 beds for in-patient care and surgical services for new mothers as well as incubators and other equipment to help infants overcome the challenges of their first days and weeks after birth.

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Daughters of Divine Charity

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  • Sister Markic, Sister Odele, Sister Webler, Sister Pamplona da Cunha and Sister Tumuhereze Mother Francisca Lechner Health Unit in Uganda, Caritas Pro Vitae Gradu Charitable Trust, Ariane Slinger
  • The whole team of the Maternity Ward Mother Francisca Lechner Health Unit in Uganda, Caritas Pro Vitae Gradu Charitable Trust, Ariane Slinger
  • Sisters of the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Charity Mother Francisca Lechner Health Unit in Uganda, Caritas Pro Vitae Gradu Charitable Trust, Ariane Slinger
  • Blessing of the grounds of the new Mother Francisca Maternity Ward Mother Francisca Lechner Health Unit in Uganda, Caritas Pro Vitae Gradu Charitable Trust, Ariane Slinger
  • Beginning of construction Mother Francisca Lechner Health Unit in Uganda, Caritas Pro Vitae Gradu Charitable Trust, Ariane Slinger
  • Construction almost complete Mother Francisca Lechner Health Unit in Uganda, Caritas Pro Vitae Gradu Charitable Trust, Ariane Slinger
  • The Maternity Ward has been finished Mother Francisca Lechner Health Unit in Uganda, Caritas Pro Vitae Gradu Charitable Trust, Ariane Slinger
  • Everyone coming together for a blessing of the Maternity Ward Mother Francisca Lechner Health Unit in Uganda, Caritas Pro Vitae Gradu Charitable Trust, Ariane Slinger

History

Uganda is currently one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world standing at 159 out of 188 countries according to the latest Human Development Index. Uganda has a high maternal mortality ratio of 343 deaths per 100,000 live births, probably due to their high number of teenage pregnancies. With a life expectancy of 63 years at birth, Uganda has been suffering from their high incidence of Malaria which affects about 20% of the population and HIV/AIDS which has been estimated to affect about 6% of people in Uganda. With 55% of the population living in conditions of poverty and 29% of children under 5 years of age suffering from malnutrition, expectant and new mothers need more support throughout their journey into motherhood to establish a safe and strong start for themselves and for their children.

The Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Charity was founded on November 21, 1868 and has since then expanded to have convents of sisters throughout Europe, the United States of America, Brazil and Uganda, with approximately 1000 sisters worldwide.

The Mother Francisca Lechner health unit in Uganda has been taking care of the large number of subsistence farmers in Uganda since 1999 and is continuously working on improving the services they offer to the poor, wounded and vulnerable in these rural areas.

Mission

The mission of the Mother Francisca Lechner health unit is to provide medical consultations, laboratory services, medicine dispensing, counselling of patients, HIV testing and treatment as well as prevention in their HIV clinic, early infant diagnosis and treatment in their Infant Diagnose Clinic; Tuberculosis testing, diagnose and treatment; Antenatal/Immunization at the Health Facility as well as offering home visits and different health education activities in the rural area on hygiene, sanitation, nutrition, malaria and HIV prevention through their 5 outreach posts.

The Project supported by the Caritas Pro Vitae Gradu Charitable Trust

Thanks to our initial support and the support of other donors, a maternity ward was built to be able to offer the full package of maternal services – antenatal, delivery and postnatal – with 16 beds for in-patient care and surgical services. This will allow the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Charity to help minimize maternal and foetal risks during labour and delivery as well as greatly enhance maternal and child health outcomes in the surrounding areas.

A second donation was given in order to provide essential equipment to the maternity ward, including hospital beds, stethoscopes, sterilizers, and an incubator so the maternity ward is able to open to provide their services as soon as possible.