After months of fundraising, planning, and anxiously waiting, we broke ground on our Birth House expansion last month. Thanks to the support of generous donors and a grant from LUSH Cosmetics North America, this new building will house additional birth suites, postnatal beds, and more.
The Shanti Uganda Birth House and Learning Centre opened its doors in 2010, and we’ve been serving mothers and children in our community ever since. Our current setup includes: one birth suite, one antenatal examination room, one lab, one postnatal ward (with five beds), and one reception area, where our midwives hold our weekly health education talks.
Our limited space can present challenges to our midwives. Having only one birth room means that, on occasion, moms have had to give birth in the antenatal room. Despite our limited space, however, Shanti has maintained excellent statistics throughout the entire Birth House’s lifespan.
In our #10YearsofImpact, our Birth House staff have provided care for:
- 10,689 antenatal visits
- 4,275 postnatal visits
- 1,538 family planning visits
- 12,147 child immunizations
- 9,096 HIV & STI screens
- 1,579 births
And that’s just what happens at the Birth House– not including our post-partum home outreach visits, community family planning outreach days, or school immunizations days.
More importantly than the incredible quantity of services provided over the last eight years, however, is the quality. No matter where we are operating, Shanti provides respectful, compassionate care. This expansion will allow us to offer the same high-quality care to more mothers and families in Luwero.
This isn’t the first time we’ve expanded. In 2015, Shanti acquired the plot of land immediately behind the Birth House to develop our Community Garden, which also serves as a demonstration site for our Gardening & Nutrition workshops. In 2017, thanks to another grant from LUSH Cosmetics North America and the work of the Busoga Trust, we constructed a borehole and pump, which now provides water to families in our community.
The expansion was celebrated with a cornerstone ceremony on Friday, October 24. Our Birth House staff gathered with leaders from the Busoga Trust, who are again managing the construction of the project. Sister Josephine, our head midwife, and Courtney, our country director, worked together to lay the first brick down.
While the Busoga Trust have worked to construct the new building, the Shanti staff have worked to furnish it. The generous contributions of individuals and groups like the Semiahmoo Rotary Club will fund new beds for the expanded ward. In-kind donations, like the scales and resuscitation kits provided by PSI Uganda, will ensure we have all the equipment needed to provide the best care possible.
By Friday, November 23, just one month after the construction began, the walls and floor were already complete. While the workhands began on the roof, we hosted nearly 100 community members for a fundraiser to support furnishing the building.
It was a tremendous day, marked by speeches, performances, an auction, a delicious lunch, and lots of laughter.
Semugabi Emmanuel, the Local Council Chairperson of the Luwero sub-county, praised Shanti’s work in his speech: “When they first opened, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. What they are doing had never been done here before. But they have succeeded.”
Canadian musician Domanique Grant entertained our guests with a few classic covers and her own original songs. Domanique, a former Shanti intern who wrote her first album while she was interning, was thrilled to return and see the progress Shanti has made in the six years since she left.
Thanks to our many supporters who have contributed to the cause, we plan to have the new building operational and in service by February. We look forward to providing even more community members with exceptional maternal and child health care!