Voices From the Field: How Samosas Helped a Ugandan Mother Find Family Planning

By Shallon Rwecurenga, Area Program Officer, Eastern Region

Seated at her workplace — a small metallic container that is rather hot with a mud floor and soot-covered walls — Grace goes about her usual business of making vegetable samosas, which she sells for a living.

DSC_7340

Grace, a middle aged mother of 13-year-old Victo and 4-year-old Jordan, had dreamed of becoming a health worker. This dream was shuttered when her father declared that he could no longer afford the money for her to attend school. With that dream blurred now, her only hope is to be able to provide for children’s basic needs, give them a good education and generally be a good parent to them.

“I really wanted to be a professional health worker. But now that I cannot, my desire is that at least my young child Jordan can be a health worker.”

In her efforts to give the best for her children, it has not been easy.

“Sometimes my husband gives money for rent but for other things I have to cater for them, including school fees for the children,” she said.

For a living, Grace sells samosas.

DSC_7336

DSC_7362

Every term, Grace supplies 40 samosas to Victo’s school for the teachers’ tea to cater for part of her school fees.

Fortunately, Grace does not have many children at the moment. She is using the 3 month injection as a family planning method to prevent pregnancy. Grace got the injection from PSI’s Uganda network member, PACE’s ProFam clinic, St Apollo. She delivered her last baby there, having been recommended St. Apollo’s for delivery by a friend who applauded the health workers for their professionalism and attention.

Uganda has a high maternal mortality rate of 435/100,000 live births, most of which are caused by hemorrhage during childbirth. Grace shared that she had not had a good experience with her first baby whom she delivered in a public hospital. The nurses were overwhelmed and did not offer enough care and attention to the mothers and the babies.

”The nurses just told us to push the babies, put them on our tummies and they will come to cut the cord later. This causes the babies to get cold and the mother may bleed too much,” she laments.

Grace has been using the injection for five years now and she hopes to stop using it when she’s ready to have more children. She received information about family planning from Aston, an interpersonal communication agent attached to ProFam’s St.Apollo clinic.

Aston is a regular customer who buys her samosas and gave her this information. He took her to the clinic and handed her over to Sarah, a midwife, who counselled her and gave her the injection. She was happy to get the service at no cost and was told that there is an organization that supports the clinic to offer free family planning services. She hopes that the free service and professionalism at St Apollo will remain so that she can still get her injection and support her children’s education.

Photo(s): Courtesy of PSI