Aspen Day 4: NICU and Maternity Ward

For the past decade, Adara has had the great privilege of partnering with Aspen. It has been an amazing partnership, which has shown us all the exponential power of linking the business sector with those in need in the developing world. Together, we have bridged worlds, and changed lives for the people of Kiwoko Hospital.

Each year, staff members from Aspen offices across the globe come to Kiwoko Hospital to see firsthand the impact of this partnership. Every year, they leave inspired. Here is their experience.


By Vivienne Lochhead

Oli otya? Gendyi!(How are you? I am fine.) A very busy day today! First on our agenda, we were sad to say Goodbye to our friends at Morning Prayers. The service was a very joyous occasion, as we spent most of the hour singing and were able to celebrate another wedding announcement. Thomas saved the day by lending an extra long hand to Kiwoko’s vertically challenged Pastor to tape the sheet up high on the wall and was given an outstanding round of applause!

We then had the opportunity to listen in on the daily Doctor’s meeting where they discuss the cases of the previous day and follow-ups required. The visiting medical students tested our knowledge and a quiz. We followed this up with a craft fair of local crafts and artwork, including some amazing work by Roland, one of the Ebenezer Boys whom I will discuss further along.

Up next was a tour of the maternity ward and the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). As someone who has attended many Adara updates detailing how Aspen has rebuilt the NICU and maternity ward, as well as being a Mum of both a premature baby and a baby who contracted viral meningitis at 2 weeks old, I was very keen for this day. The NICU is an amazing facility that is larger than the one in Bermuda. The facilities have capacity for around 40 babies but have gone up to 50 babies at one time when required, by creating space in other areas. They have 7 staff on duty per shift.

We were able to see the CPAP working to help a preemie who was born at 26 weeks. This piece of equipment can help inflate the lungs and keep the airway open so that the baby doesn’t have to work as hard (thus saving energy and keeping their heart rates lower). Through a partnership between Adara, PATH, University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital, a new CPAP technology has been developed, costing just 10-20 USD, down from 400 USD and up. (See this video to learn more:

The NICU also promotes kangaroo care (skin to skin contact for 20 hours a day) to mothers for so many benefits for the child including steadying heartbeat, controlling breathing, keeping the baby warm, less chance of brain bleeds, better emotional attachments, better milk production and an overall increase in survival rate.

During our tour of the maternity ward (with capacity for 80 mothers in total), we were able to sit in on an antenatal/postnatal mother training in breastfeeding techniques and teaching personal/baby hygiene. There was great discussion with the expecting mothers and fathers. A particular question was amusing and please ask your favourite ambassador about this. On this note, it was very nice to see fathers present in the maternity ward, as this has only recently started to occur over the last few years.

We next visited the Adara office and met four of the Ebenezer boys. The Ebenezer boys are now young successful men who were cared for as boys by Adara with 22 others, when they were found living in the streets of Kampala. Adara paid for their schooling and they have now continued their own education, earning certificates in fine art, veterinary medicine (2 of them) and nursing (and now works at Kiwoko). At the office, we also learned about the CPAP work as well as the scale-up program which is taking the knowledge gained from the growth and expertise of Kiwoko Hospital and rolling it out to other Ugandan hospitals, specifically for maternity and NICU.

Sister Christine, who former ambassadors have met and written about, has retired from the NICU but is now working with Adara, will be responsible for this project in Uganda, along with the amazing Daniel. We also learned about the Saving Brains project which is studying early intervention for developmental issues by educating mothers on identifying the symptoms for when to seek help. A lovely lunch at the Adara House prepared by Rachel was much appreciated and gave us the energy needed for our next adventure of dancing.

We were then invited to some dancing at the Nursing and Lab School, where young men and women are studying for their certificates in nursing, midwifery and laboratory techniques. The second year students put on a great show of dancing and drumming with some very unique moves that a few of us were called up to learn. There was lots of laughter from all in the audience and on stage. The laughter and joy continued through the evening through dinner. Tonight is an early night as we are up bright and early for the Kiwoko Chase. I appreciate you reading our blogs – Webale! (Thank you!).

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