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Bradford midwife to help mothers-to-be in Uganda

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Bradford-based midwife Emily Hill is heading to a remote village in Africa where she will work as a volunteer.

Ms Hill first visited Atiak in Uganda, two years ago, working with Mother Health International, a charity that supports pregnant women and children in areas of disaster, war and extreme poverty.

“The mothers who come to give birth can travel from up to 20km away”

Emily Hill

The organisation works to reduce maternal, infant and child mortality rates through its sustainable birth centres, where local midwives work side by side with visiting midwives from around the world.

Ms Hill, who normally works at the birth centre at Bradford Royal Infirmary, which is part of Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, is planning to make a second visit to Uganda in November.

She noted that the area where she was heading had suffered during the 1990s under the Lord’s Resistance Army, a guerrilla group that abducted children and forced them to become child soldiers or into the sex trade. It only became safe for people to return to their villages in 2008.

On her original trip, which lasted three months, she assisted with the birth of 140 babies.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Bradford midwife to help mothers-to-be in Uganda

She said: “I came across the charity by chance and then I found myself following it and its work before I decided that I really wanted to get involved.

“I was so impressed by the work that goes on that I set about going out there. The birth centres are eco-friendly and have a low impact on the environment. They are solar-powered and produce is grown on site,” said Ms Hill.

“The mothers who come to give birth can travel from up to 20km away and they have a driver who can collect them and take them home after the birth, saving them from walking huge distances,” she said.

“The midwives work on a rota basis so the centres are staffed seven days a week throughout the day and night but there is also an outreach programme where community midwives visit the local villages,” she added.

Thanks to Ms Hill the local midwives can get out and about to reach patients, after she raised money to help buy 41 bicycles.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Bradford midwife to help mothers-to-be in Uganda

She is now fundraising to purchase cloth nappies, hats and clothing for the newborns, and “Moon” (menstrual) cups for the mothers.

“All of these basics are important and much needed, and I have been really fortunate in that a local business has provided me with free freight so I now have a large container I am able to fill,” she said. “I am also hoping to replace the birth centre’s fridge too when I get out there.”

Her travels have also taken her to Nepal where she recently visited her parents who have been working with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) for the past two years.

  • Readers can follow Ms Hill’s volunteer work on Twitter via @mobilisemidwife and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mobiliseamidwife
  • If anyone would like to support her by donating baby clothing – particularly vests, T-shirts and knitted hats – please email emily.hill@bthft.nhs.uk
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