Have you ever thought of how much your mother is worth? What would you give in exchange for your mom? Whether she is still alive or is only now in your memory, most of us could never put a value on the importance of her influence in our lives. It’s hard to believe that 303,000 mothers die every year from pregnancy complications—most of these complications are preventable and most of these deaths are in the developing world.
In East Africa alone, 32,000 mothers die every year. Rwanda is not exempt from the unnecessary death of mothers. Babies often die when their mothers die and young children are left alone without a mother to care for them. This also makes them more likely to suffer or die from preventable causes. So how do we stop this tragedy from ruining the lives of so many women, children and their families? That is why the Save the Mothers program was born in East Africa—to raise indigenous leaders who will bring real change so that mothers’ and children’s lives are saved.
Here is how it works: Save the Mothers (STM) offers a Masters of Public Health Leadership Program(MPHL) at the Uganda Christian University. The program began in 2005 and is unlike any other in the world with its focus on educating leaders with a focus of maternal and child health in public health. We believe that universal access to quality maternal care in pregnancy and childbirth is a basic human right.
To make this vision a reality, in 2005 STM launched its first program, a Masters of Public Health Leadership, at Uganda Christian University (UCU), near Uganda’s capital, Kampala; In 2011, in an effort to further reduce maternal mortality throughout East Africa, the first International MPHL class began in 2011, welcoming students from across East Africa, including Rwanda. With small class sizes in a modular format, these working professionals study on a part-time, modular basis over two years (4 weeks at a time, twice at year, for two years- a total of 4 modules,) learning why mothers in their countries are dying, how they can make a difference through their spheres of influence. They complete the program with an intensive outreach project that challenges them to re-enter their sphere of influence and prove that their newfound skills will make a difference. The program is designed so participants can continue to work while studying.
STM is recognized as a groundbreaking program because of how it links leaders from various disciplines to form a network for lasting societal change. It is built on the truth that maternal mortality is not just a medical issue, but a societal problem. This is not a woman’s issue; This is a development issue. STM’s founders realized this early, that the need is to train not just health workers, but politicians, journalists, lawyers, educators, clergy, community activists and other leaders.
Most recently, Save the Mothers launched its Mother Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, linking STM graduates to existing health facilities, thus ensuring higher standards of care for women and children, and accountability for health professionals. Through resource distribution, clinical mentorship and of course our Leaders in Safe Motherhood, these facilities are able to better maternal health for the women and families that they serve.
Since 2005, more than 440 East African leaders have come through the program; these professionals have returned to their communities across countries to share their experiences and knowledge of Safe Motherhood- creating a network of Maternal Health Advocates throughout East Africa. These Game-Changers are truly making a difference in reducing Maternal Mortality, and making Safe Motherhood a possibility for all women. We continue to seek motivated individuals— from Rwanda and across East Africa—to join us in this Master of Public Health Leadership Program to make sure “That no mother or child should die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth”.
Executive Director-Dr. Jean Chamberlain: [email protected] + (256) 782 105 445
Academic Director- Dr. Justus Barageine:[email protected] + (256) 0702 454 869
Communications Director-Teopista Agutu: [email protected] + (256) 0772 311498,