Acholi Films assist mother to identify complications in pregnancy

Mother of five, Miremba, had normal pregnancies and births for her first four children.  However her fifth pregnancy was a very different experience.

Miremba nurses her baby daughter, Northern Uganda
Miremba nurses her baby daughter, Northern Uganda


I was empowered. That is why I was able to realise these were problems before it was late. The story would be different and sad if I had treated this pregnancy like all the previous ones.

Miremba, Uganda

Living in a village with her husband and four children in Northern Uganda, Miremba hadn’t expected anything unusual when pregnant with her fifth child, having had four pregnancies without complications.

Under the care of her local Village Health Team, Miremba attended her first antenatal class at four months, watching Understanding Warning Signs During Pregnancy

The film was in her local dialect, Acholi, due to Medical Aid Films working with non-profit organisation Food for the Hungry on their project to improve maternal and child health in Kitgum.

After learning the key signs to look out for in pregnancy, Miremba was able to recognise symptoms that indicated that something was wrong and quickly got a referral to the New Life Medical Centre.

“I had already known of it as a danger sign in pregnancy from the Medical Aid Film show and knew just what to do.”

Diagnosed with an infection of the cervix she was able to receive treatment and feel better.

Four months later she had recovered well from cervicitis but started to feel unwell again:

“One night, I started feeling a severe headache and fever.  It was quite abnormal but with the information from the Medical Aid Film show, I realised that something was wrong.”

Again seeking help from her local health team, Miremba was referred to the New Life Medical Centre and on to Kitgum General Hospital.  Miremba had developed high blood pressure with a low foetal heart beat.  She had eclampsia, a serious condition for both mother and baby which can even be fatal.  She needed an immediate caesarean section.

But the complications were not over, two weeks after delivery, Miremba started feeling unusually cold:

“I remember in the film, it was mentioned that severe coldness after birth up to around six weeks is also a danger sign and it was also emphasised by my VHT.”

Miremba was able to access further treatment from the health centre, receiving further postnatal care for herself and her new baby daughter.

Read more: Improving community health messaging: Acholi films

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