Our First Mobil Maternal and Fetal Health Clinic

Our First Mobil Maternal and Fetal Health Clinic

December 7, 2021

We left Neema Village at 5:45 am Wednesday. Guzzling early morning Ugandan coffee, we were glad to reach Longido and the choo by 7:30. We were picking up a doctor and two nurses at the government clinic and traveling with them to do our first mobile maternal and fetal health clinic out in a remote Masai village. Many of them live in very poor conditions and have little access to good health care.

We were excited. We were going to be working with a government health clinic and we would be doing pre-natal care, family planning and AzIDS testing for pregnant women, baby wellness, vaccinations against Polio, teen girl counseling and Covid shots for those who wanted them. We would also set up a prayer corner for the pregnant moms and babies. 

AIDs is still a killer in Africa with about 12.2 million cases and often they do not want to admit they have it so they don’t get the free medicine that will save their lives. We were hoping to get the pregnant women tested so they could live for and protect their babies.   Many of our babies are from these remote Maasai villages, including our latest baby, little Dorcas whose mom died.  

Along the way we were to meet up with some of our TBAs (traditional birthing attendants) who had been to Neema for Save the Mothers training.  We also met up with these guys (below) along the way as well as gerenuk, gazelles and a flock of guinea fowl.  Since Kassie is a giraffe magnet we saw plenty of giraffe on the trip.

Not sure you can see the animal below but it is there.

After a long wait of “they are about ready” (“about” being relative to anything from 5 minutes to 45 minutes) and then, “Oh we don’t have copies to hand out, can you stop at a store in town and make 50 copies before we leave,”( it was a fairly large assumption that anyone they would hand these out to could actually read), we pulled out of Longido at about 10am just a few hours late. 

When I asked how far we were going, Kassie said, “Once you turn off the paved highway, you go until the dirt road turns into a path and then you keep going!” Sure enough there was a path.

With the lack of rain as we traveled we noticed how “maskini” the cows were. Maskini actually means poor but that seems to fit these poor cows.

In the car a lot of chattering was going on as Mercy, our midwife teacher, grilled the two birthing attendants we had picked up about how things were going since their class. We have now taught 34 traditional birthing attendants some safe birthing techniques and are always interested to see if they have used any of the skills they learned. They had and were eager to talk. But we were finally glad to arrive.

When we arrived we met first in a tin box. Literally.

We met first with the village leaders in the small tin room. You never start a meeting without everyone of any importance having their say.

Kimwati is an area with about 6,000 Maasai, and at first we didn’t see very many women but we soon learned they were in the school rooms.

Getting the room set up for the exams was quite fun since we had to hang the babies from the rafters with our car tow strap to weigh them.  They had forgotten the rope. Kassie and Grace had fun fashioning a makeshift sling to put the little babies in to weigh them.

Grace Moore from Ireland had gone with us and we were grateful for her help. She works at a big Safari Lodge in the Serengeti game park and came to spend her month vacation holding babies at Neema Village. Grace was a low maintenance, high work volume volunteer. Thanks Grace!

As the day wore on, the women kept coming.

We saw one little guy who seems to have epilepsy because his mom said he keeps falling over. He had open, caked-with-dirt, sores all over his face from the falls. The mother thought he was cursed so during the prayer with her we mentioned how much God loves this sweet child and wants him to live. The doctor visiting with the mom learned that she would not or could not walk the 50 km every month to get the medicine since she has another small baby. It is hard for these villagers who live so far from medical care.  We also saw a little boy whose tongue and eye lids were white. He looks pretty anemic or has leukemia. He held my hand as long as his mom stayed with us. 

We saw one child that the nurse thought had polio and one two-year-old still not sitting up. Those three we gave transport money to come to town to Neema Village next week. We pray they will come. It is sad that we must still give polio shots.

At 3pm the women kept coming but I was getting weak in the knees so had to stop for a PB and J sandwich, our standard fair for Maasai trips.

As we were getting ready to leave, the school principal said he had ten school girls that he thought might be pregnant. They checked out four girls and it ended that two of the girls, in primary school, were pregnant and will have to drop out of school. These girls are between 12 and 14 years old. Once girls are circumcised, they become women and get married and then they have a baby and school is finished for them.  

FGM continually creeps up on us as the basis for so much that is impossibly hard for these women. Mercy said 90% of the women we saw today had been circumcised.  It is a slow process to change a centuries old custom but we keep praying and remembering that our God is a God of the Impossible!

It was a good day and an estimate count of women and children seen was 87 children vaccinated, 20 nutrition assessments done, 15 pregnant women checked and 28 women counseled for family planning. Others received various shots and medicines.

It was a good day, long but good. We hope to do many more of these clinics.

Even though we saw some hard things to deal with today we are confident with David in Psalms 27:13 “We will still see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”


Dorris and Michael