Creating systemic change in Uganda: Baby Abina from TSMP survives with the help of Embrace

Embrace partner, Teso Safe Motherhood Project (TSMP), Uganda Africa, provides healthcare to the most vulnerable populations in the region. There were no working incubators or radiant warmers in the area, and management of hypothermia often means resorting to the use of hot water bottles or charcoals.

Soroti, Uganda has one of the highest rates of Malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria often invades the placenta causing babies to be very low birth weight, even with full term pregnancies.

Just a few days after the clinic at Teso Safe Motherhood Project received the Embrace infant warmers, a mother infected with Malaria gave birth to full-term yet low-birth-weight baby girl, Abina, weighing only 4.1 pounds. Swaddled in cloth and placed snuggly next to her mother, nurses thought she was sufficiently warm.  As part of the Embrace program, the staff had recently received training on neonatal hypothermia and implemented a new practice of monitoring the temperatures of all newborns. When they measured her temperature, they were shocked to find that the tiny infant was suffering from hypothermia and was struggling to keep warm.
166533_385995221458828_1413662558_nThe baby was also not able to breastfeed properly because she was cold. After stabilizing her body temperature by using the infant warmer, the baby was able to breastfeed; over the course of the next few days, she began to gain weight and grow, as a result of her regular feedings and temperature stability.  Thanks to Embrace, baby Abina was able to come home to her new family.

Hypothermia is often referred to as a “silent killer.”  The staff was alarmed to learn that neonatal hypothermia was a prevalent issue at their clinic. Previous to Embrace, TSMP did not have any other means to provide warmth to this tiny baby. Morris, a nurse at the clinic, feels that the presence of Embrace has provided a voice for these tiny babies by creating awareness about the presence of hypothermia.

Apio Euunice_TSMP_Uganda

Jennifer Braun, Executive Director of the International Midwife Assistance whom supports the TSMP clinic explains, “Really we have found the warmers to be a big help. We had a big problem with hypothermia that we didn’t even know about. The first lesson that we have learned is that awareness of hypothermia here is low and that the Embrace warmers are an excellent tool not only for treating hypothermia, but also for raising awareness of hypothermia.”

Molly Ronan, Development Associate

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