2016 Project Focus: PLACENTA PIT FOR BARHD'S BEVERLY CLINIC

amy on placenta pit

In 2011, we completed our very first project—we built a placenta pit in rural southwest Uganda with the help of Amy Williams from BARHD. Some of you may know this story, but for those of you new to us, here’s how that happened. 

Sister Ephrance, Leia, Leia's boys (Will and Ben), and Amy

Sister Ephrance, Leia, Leia's boys (Will and Ben), and Amy

Co-founder, Leia Johnson, met Amy at a meeting in Oklahoma City, where Amy and her Ugandan counterpart, Sister Ephrance, shared about the dangers of blood borne diseases. Because of these dangers and the rudimentary set up at the rural clinics, it is a common practice to have a placenta pit, which is exactly what it sounds like—a hole in the ground, covered with concrete where the medical professionals can dispose of afterbirth and medical waste to prevent the spread of disease. Leia and her friends funded the building of the placenta pit, and Somebody’s Mama was born.

Fast-forward to today, and we are having a “full circle” moment for our community.

Amy serves on our board of advisors and has been an indispensable well of wisdom in helping us form our mission and vision as an organization. She and Sister Ephrance were featured as our Mamas of the Month in June of 2014.

A few months ago, Amy told us that BARHD wanted to build another placenta pit for the Beverly Clinic in Bweju, a village set in the mountains of Rubengi Parish in southwest Uganda. Since its inception in 2008, the Beverly Clinic has served 10,000 patients for prenatal care, immunizations, malaria treatment, HIV/AIDS testing, and general health. BARHD has funded the construction of the clinic building, a maternity ward, staff housing, a kitchen, and a structure for water catchment and storage.

Amy and Ephrance talk to the women about maternal healthcare

Amy and Ephrance talk to the women about maternal healthcare

We are happy to announce that Somebody’s Mama will be partnering once again with BARHD for a project at the Beverly Clinic—we’re building another placenta pit!

We will also be raising money to stock the clinic’s supplies and make general improvements to the clinic, including the purchase of solar lights that will aid in care that happens at night. Lastly, any additional funds we raise will go toward making “mommy kits,” a tool the clinic uses to connect with pregnant women in the community.

Women are invited to the clinic to receive a kit that includes items like surgical and barrier gloves, plastic sheets, soap, a razor blade, umbilical tape, sanitary pads, and a baby blanket. The kit is designed to provide everything needed for a safe home birth if circumstances hinder a woman from coming to the clinic to receive skilled medical care from doctors, nurses, and midwives. 

Some supplies used to build the mommy kits

Some supplies used to build the mommy kits

In coming to the clinic to receive the kit, moms are invited to be a part of prenatal and breastfeeding classes and encouraged to return for check ups throughout their pregnancy. Best case scenario, the women will build relationships with the medical professionals and be able to give birth in a safe clinic, and secondarily, if they cannot make it to the clinic for birth, they are armed with knowledge about safe birthing practices and the tools to have as safe a birth as possible in their home. More recently, the workers at Beverly Clinic have started seeing more and more fathers coming with their pregnant women, which is both heartening and crucial in changing mindsets about safe birthing practices.

Other than the blankets made by church ladies from Norman, OK, all of the supplies for the mommy kits are locally sourced, which means our dollars will stimulate the economy in addition to helping women become safer and more informed about childcare.

So, get ready to go with our new project! We are hoping to raise $5,000 to send to BARHD—that’s $3,000 to build the placenta pit and for facility maintenance and improvement. The remaining $2,000 (and any extra we bring in) will purchase the needed supplies to create 200 mommy kits for the pregnant women of Bweju which cost about $10 each.

The Mamas of Bweju

The Mamas of Bweju

As always, we’ll be raising money through the magic of Love Clubs—gather with your friends to party with a purpose! We have a goal of funding this project by July 31st, and we’ve already got Love Clubs on the books including a kids’ Sunday school class from Mascoutah, IL, who picked Somebody’s Mama to be the recipient of their summer service project. How cool is it that kids from middle America will be helping Mamas in central Africa?

Thank you to Amy and Sister Ephrance for trusting us again to improve maternal healthcare for Mamas in Uganda—we are so thankful for your leadership and excited to get started!

If you are ready to start your Love Club, click here to let us know, and we’ll send you all the information you need to throw a great party with a purpose.

Questions? Comments? Send us your thoughts here.