Edwige Namwanga, a midwife with big vision - Using data to advocate for improved MCH services

Edwige Namwanga, a midwife with big vision - Using data to advocate for improved MCH services

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Edwige is a midwife. She enrolled on the MPHL program in 2016. In 2017, Edwige was given a new assignment to lead Kyetume Health Centre III in Lwengo district, central Uganda.

The facility only offered Antenatal Care and immunization regarding maternal and child health. 

These services were housed in a one small building that served as the out-patient. Deliveries were not happening at this facility. So women either travelled long distances to deliver or delivered with Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA).

When Edwige started her duties as the new in-charge of Kyetume Health Centre III, she was not happy with the status quo. Reflecting on the safe motherhood information she had been exposed to on the MPHL course, Edwige resolved to make improvements that would contribute to saving lives.


She lobbied the district leadership for the establishment of a separate MCH unit at the facility. Edwige had identified an old building within the facility land that had been condemned for demolition. With the district buy-in this building was renovated to serve as the MCH unit. The facility now has a delivery room, post-natal room, Antenatal Care area, an examination room and immunization room.

Though this building is small, it has contributed to safe motherhood and has also decongested the out-patients area. The MCH unit contributed to increased numbers of women seeking ANC and brought on board maternity services for the Kyetume community and its environs.

Meredi Patience a midwife working with Edwige at Kyetume Health Centre III, says: “Deliveries were as low as 6 in a month. We have moved from 6 deliveries to 40 deliveries per month. In the past women were not willing to come here.”

Edwige says: Maternity services go hand in hand with light and water. Edwige identified partners to light up the maternity unit using solar. She also put in place water. She is currently working with partners in the armed forces to power up Kyetume Health with hydro-electricity power.

Staff housing: Because women deliver anytime, Edwige requested the district leadership for quarters to house midwives at the facility. “It is important that women who come to deliver at night find a midwife to attend to them right away. One of the beneficiaries says: “In the past there were no maternity services here. But now even at 2am women come to delivers.” 

Immunization up: Edwige was also troubled by low immunization levels at the facility. The MCH unit boasted the numbers of children being immunized. To increase the numbers further, Edwige introduced outreaches to the communities.  She adds that to manage the immunizations her facility received a big fridge from government through advocacy and use of data for decision making. “That fridge is one of the five fridges given to high volume facilities in the district.”

Family planning: The MPHL course made Edwige alert to family planning as a key safe motherhood pillar. These services are now available and being use.

Result Based Funding: Due to Edwige’s efforts, the facility now has access to Results Based Funding (RBF) from the government of Uganda. To qualify for this Edwige worked with her team to put in place the required perimeters.

Edwige’s dream: Edwige would like to have a waiting shelter constructed soon for mothers who come for antenatal care so that neither sunshine nor rain interferes with their access to services. She adds: “My big dream is to see a big MCH unit constructed here at Kyetume Health Centre serving the Kyetume community and saving many lives. I know that these dreams will come true.”


What beneficiaries say about Edwige’s work

District and grass-roots leadership spoke so highly of Edwige’s work.  The Vice Chairman, Lwengo district, Mr Ssensalire Christopher is one of Edwige’s supervisors. When STM visited the Vice Chairperson at his offices in Lwengo he was full of praises for Edwige’s work: Her efforts have led to an increase in immunization coverage in the district. He attributed these developments at the facility to Edwige’s good leadership skills and love for safe motherhood. “Edwige is able to beat challenges. With her wisdom and guidance, Edwige brought the idea of renovating an old building which is now a maternity unit.”  The Chairperson also appreciated STM for following up its alumni which he said inspires them to keep moving in the right direction.

The Local Council Chairman, Ssalongo Matiya said that Edwige is so developmental and a very good team player whose efforts have resulted into good service delivery. He added: “If I were a woman and a younger woman, I would come back here deliver my baby.”

Save the Mothers

Uganda Christian University
Plot 67-173, Mukono Hill,
Bishop Tucker Road
P.O. Box 4, Mukono, Uganda
Email Us: EAdirector@savethemothers.org


Save the Mothers promotes maternal health in the developing world through education, public awareness and advocacy. Based in Uganda and North America, Save The Mothers is part of a global movement to improve the health of mothers and babies.