One of the things we love about our Hospital to Home (H2H) programme is that it is providing families with choices and chances and allowing newborns to have brighter futures. This became clearer to us than ever when he heard the story of baby Joshua and his mother, Hannah.
The roads are dusty and rough. Piled into a 4WD, the Adara team bounce around together in the back, talking about how far Adara’s Maternal, Newborn and Child Health work has come since we first started. It’s remarkable to think how many more lives we are saving now.
Jessica Millar, our Senior Partnership Manager, is with our team in Uganda going into the community on a Hospital to Home visit .
“We headed out into Luweero District with powerhouse midwife, Sister Cornety, who leads the programme. She has dedicated her life to helping babies and mothers thrive”, Jessica says.
Their first visit is to Hannah and her baby, Joshua. Hannah is only 19 years old, but she already knows loss. Her first baby tragically died. Born premature, she lived until four years of age when she passed away from fever.
Joshua is Hannah’s second baby and was also born premature at 29 weeks in late January 2022. He spent three weeks in the Kiwoko Hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Having lost one child, taking Joshua home was an understatedly stressful and scary venture for Hannah. Thankfully, Hannah and baby Joshua were enrolled in our Hospital to Home programme, which provides in-home follow-up care to high-risk babies for up to a year after they leave hospital.
Through Hospital to Home, Hannah received training in the NICU on what to expect after taking Joshua home. They get follow-up visits that are led by a network of volunteer Community Health Workers (CHWs ) who have received training in the care of small and sick newborns. These amazing CHWs have supported Hannah to care for Joshua once she left the hospital and helped ensure optimal health and development.
As the team arrive, Hannah is sitting outside on a bench, with Joshua in her arms. He is now five-months old and doing well.
Joshua is weighed with a hand-held scale by his CHW, Dan. He weighs 5.3kg, 500 grams more than the previous visit. They check Joshua’s temperature, circulation, and how he is breastfeeding. Everything looks good.
Dan also checks that Hannah’s contraceptive bar is still in place and that she is feeling well. Hannah previously requested the contraceptive after consultation with her CHWs. Family planning and access to contraception is a critical part of the Hospital to Home programme.
“We thank Hannah as we were leaving – telling her how beautiful her baby boy is, and that he is very healthy and strong. She looks pleased, but still aware of the challenges she faces”, Jessica says.
“Driving away, I think about this seemingly simple intervention – following up mothers and babies in their home after hospital discharge. Yet, it is saving life, giving mothers choices and chances , and allowing babies to have a bright future.”Jessica Millar
We couldn’t agree more.