For me, this time of year is especially poignant for reflecting on the work of Imaging the World and the people we are helping. This year has been a pivotal year for us in many ways, largely because we went to Uganda to launch proof of concept. In July, we spent very long hours in Kamuli, at the hospital testing ITW’s protocols. Even though the days were long and filled with unexpected challenges, spending time at Kamuli Mission Hospital we witnessed many heartbreaking events that reminded us of why we were there. We saw things we will never forget.
One late night, as we were waiting to get picked up after a long day of technical challenges implementing the study, a car came in with an injured woman in the back seat. She was 16 and had been at a track meet for school, when a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) hit her from behind, leaving her with a massive head injury and a compound fracture in her leg. Dr. Alphonse, the main surgeon at KMH hadn’t slept in 22 hours, but as the only surgeon, he had to go to the operating theater and operate on this young woman. She lived, but she suffered immeasurable pain and her leg was roughly splinted with heavy metal wire. For her, there won’t be any trips to the physical therapist or waterproof casts.
Another day, part of our team jumped in to help Dr. Alphonse when a pregnant woman arrived at the hospital on the back of a motorcycle. She had been in labor for many days. But by the time she arrived at the hospital, she was too weak for surgery and she died.
So many women in Uganda die needlessly in childbirth. Tragic enough when you think of the lives lost, but what does this mean for the children of Africa? If the average woman has 7 children, and she has a 1 in 22 chance of dying in her lifetime from childbirth related issues, it’s mind boggling to think about how many children are left motherless. And if so many children are orphaned, how do they feed themselves and their brothers and sisters, let alone go to school and become literate? By saving the lives of mothers, more children will gain options in life.
There is so much to be thankful for in the part of the world where I live. But mostly, I am thankful for all of the people around the world that appreciate and support the mission of ITW, and for our fortune and success this year. We wouldn't be where we are today if it weren't for the efforts and passion of hundreds of people, willing to give and make sacrifices for helping those who need it most.
Thanks to all, and have a warm and happy holiday,