Above: Sr. Esabu with patients at the original location of TSMP.
Above: Sr. Joyce with the first baby born at SIMMC in 2007.
Below: Midwife Caro practicing Helping Babies Breathe.
Soroti IDP Medical and Maternal Center (SIMMC) came together in 2007 in response to the maternal/child health crisis driven by civil unrest. It was located at Plot 8, Ongodia Road in Soroti. At the time, tens of thousands of people had fled the so-called "Lords Resistance Army" and run to Soroti. Local health resources were overwhelmed. In response, a group of four nurses, all Canadian except one from the USA, Beverly Lyne, had established a small clinic to provide first-line, emergency health care to the displaced. Ms. Lyne conducted a needs assessment that concluded the community needed maternal/child health services desperately. A friend who had volunteered with an NGO called International Midwife Assistance (IMA)in Afghanistan suggested that IMA might be able to partner with the people of Soroti to provide maternal and child health services. At that time, IMA was completing a project in Afghanistan and looking to relocate. IMA’s executive director, Jennifer Braun, visited Soroti late in 2006.
She found a small clinic staffed by a few locals who shared a commitment to helping the suffering people living in their community. A partnership was begun with International Midwife Assistance to begin establishing a local group to address the crisis. IMA provides funding and mentorship to the Teso Safe Motherhood Project.
SIMMC was incorporated as a CBO in 2007, while the region was still faced with insurgency. As the war ended and IDPs were resettled, the project reincorporated. On August 7, 2009, the Teso Safe Motherhood Project was granted NGO status by the Ugandan National Board for Non-Governmental Organisations. While the war is over, there is much work to be done for the most vulnerable mothers and babies in rural Uganda.
SIMMC began by adding one midwife to the staff of the nurses’ original small clinic. That midwife, Sr. Aedekes Joyce, provided antenatal care to impoverished pregnant women. They found a bigger home for the clinic, and the first birth in SIMMC’s care occurred in October of 2007. Not many mothers delivered at the clinic at first, and the staff spent time with them to determine why not. Many reported that transport was a huge issue, a big barrier at night particularly. That began the Bajaj program in 2009. Now, every pregnant mother has access to a motorbike taxi in her village. She and her mother or mother-in-law or sister, whoever is accompanying her, can get a ride to the clinic when she is in labor. And now, in 2019, the average number of births per month at the clinic is approaching 150. The staff has grown to 41 people, plus two staff who are currently sponsored to school.
The project has always been committed to medical excellence, kindness and compassion. In their efforts to drive newborn mortality as low as possible, the staff began studying and implementing Helping Babies Breathe ™ in 2012. In rural Uganda newborn mortality is 30/1000. At TSMP it is currently 6/1000.
To achieve the above objectives, TSMP has a five-year strategic plan, which guides the operations of the organization. The strategic plan has five Key Result Areas (KRAs) for purposes measure the implementing the strategic plan. These include: