Wednesday, May 25, 2011


By Elman Nsinda
WRA Uganda

The prayers of the people who fear drugs and tablets have been answered   as scientists unveil Art-another cheap side effect free method of healing.
While deliberating on the role of Arts in Health Care during a Forum organized by Center for Arts in Health Care and School of Fine Art-university of Florida, Experts from the University of Florida said that Art and design play a very significant role in the prevention and healing of various diseases if it’s embraced by the people.

In the forum that started on 13th to 14th May this year in Kigali Rwanda, people from different countries of the region presented their experiences and art pieces and how they have been relevant in health care.
I was very moved by the demonstrations done by Capacita Rwanda. They told us to massage each other. After, I felt change in my body! To me this served as proof that Art heals.

Executive Director –Center for Arts in health care Anita Jones says that “The arts benefit patients by aiding in physical, mental and emotional recovery, including by relieving anxiety and decreasing their perception of pain. In an atmosphere where the patient often feels out of control, the arts can serve as therapeutic and healing tool, reducing stress and loneliness and providing opportunities for self expression”.

People are advised to have architectural designs on the walls of their buildings. “From architectural design to art on the walls, from access to natural lighting to inclusion of nature through land scaping and healing gardens, the physical environment has a significant impact on relieving patient and caregiver stress, improving health outcomes enhancing patient safety and overall quality of care and reducing costs”. A doctor was quoted as saying. He added that “The physical environment also plays an important role in improving health and safety of staff, reducing errors in providing care while increasing effectiveness and job satisfaction.

People from different walks of life; health workers among others are advised to embrace art as they are likely to achieving in short time and minimize costs.
The people most especially those who fear drugs and tablets can take this option mostly for prevention.
The forum gave a platform for the participants to exchange ideas and chat a way forward.
There were lots of fun, performances, music, dance and drama which kept people going and interested.

WRA’s own David Ssebuggwawo and Katy Woods also presented and talked on how WRA has been using Arts in creating awareness about maternal health. Woods showed pictures and cartoons that appealed to people. Even if it’s you, you can rush to help a pregnant neighbor. David showed the role of Arts in safe motherhood and according to his presentation, it was evident enough that art plays a key role in fostering safe motherhood. He highlighted Music, drama and talk shows and said that they have been effective in arousing responses and creating awareness.

The forum was organized by school of Fine Art+- University of Florida in conjunction with Center for Arts in health care. Participants came all the way from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, DR Congo and Rwanda the host.

Having been hooked, the participants from Uganda discussed on how to keep the fire burning.
They came up with a committee which will coordinate members and come up with activities in the country. David ssebuggwawo was selected Chairperson

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


By Katy Woods

It was an early start on International Day of the Midwife for the WRA Uganda team as we set off before sunrise for Iganga to take part in the 5km walk organized globally by the International Confederation of Midwives.

As we drove towards Jinja through the lush Mabira forest and sugar plantations, we turned up the radio as we heard Janet Jackson from UNFPA Uganda talking of the need to scale up the numbers of midwives in the country. The message was very clear ­ there is a critical shortage of 2000 midwives in Uganda today, which is contributing to the deaths of 16 women every day ­ equivalent to a full matatu (minibus) crashing with no survivors every single day! A somber thought as we watch the matatus hurtling towards us on the busy highway.

When we got to Iganga we visited Namungalwe Health Centre IV beside the site of the celebrations. As we met with the health workers and the patients, the impression was of a very well kept happy environment. There was a group of 25 women settled under a tree receiving family planning information from Marie Stopes, the out-patients area had a long waiting queue, but it was moving, keeping the health workers busy with immunizations and treatments. In the maternity ward we met a beautiful new mother with her very healthy baby. The health center delivers 70 babies every month and there hasn't been a maternal death there for 20 years. The immense pride that the midwives showed as they spoke on camera bowled me over. They really love their job, and they want to be the best they can at it.

As I began to ask the midwives about their accommodation, I could see where the problems with the health centre lay. I was led over to a couple of crumbling building and met by a rabble of children who all lived in the 2 bedroom houses. The houses were built in 1958 and have never been renovated. There was no sanitation and the simplest of breakages had not been mended. The cracks and fungus in the ceiling were synonymous with the cracks in the system. I spotted a lovely looking house across the grass from the midwifery accommodation and asked who lived there. 'That's the doctor's house', I was told. 'It was donated to us by Princess Anne in 1986'. As we got closer to the house, I could see the rooms were filled up with cardboard boxes, where is the doctor? I asked. The midwife looked at me with frustration, “We have never had a doctor living here.” As I looked back at the 8 children who share such tiny rooms, and think about what it must be like most nights when the rain comes through the cracks, scarily through the electrical socket, I wonder how it must feel for the midwives to look over at a comfortable, secure and fully functional home that has housed cardboard for the last 25 years. Their message was clear, Uganda needs more midwives and they need to be better treated.
Doctor's House donated by Princess Anne in 1984 - it has never been lived in. The building is in perfect condition and stores plastic furniture and boxes.
The march had started so the WRA Uganda team ran to join them. I realized my day had not been an early start once the MC began to list where all the midwives had come from to take part in the march ­ from Rwanda to Rakai and Kabale to Kaabong, the midwives had gathered to show their strength on this important day. Hillary and Ethel, WRA members and artists, kicked off the celebrations by getting the midwives on their feet to their catchy songs with strong messages on maternal health. The midwives were embracing the day and getting down to the music, they shared their stories at the WRA stall and gave statements on what they would do for midwives if they were President
of Uganda.
We spoke with MPs, the Ministry of Health officials, Local Councilors, the Police, NGOs, the Media and mothers on the need to come together to push for more midwives and better conditions. Everybody was on the same message, a very positive sign for WRA campaigning in the next year. Working together we can improve the conditions for midwives and we can convince the government to invest in more health workers. WRA Uganda is bringing its members together on a targeted campaign towards this end for the next year. 
Join the campaign with WRA Uganda and play your part for midwives, mothers and maternal healthcare. Email: 

Mrs Margaret Hasasha, WRA Uganda Board Member attends to Midwives as they sign up to be WRA members at the IDM function grounds

Midwives and Nurses dance to WRA Uganda maternal health  music performed by Ethel and Hillary at the function

Ethel performing her new song "Save a Woman"

Hillary performs along with the nurses and nurses as they dance to the music

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


By Elman Nsinda
WRA Uganda

After a successful Youth Concert at Makerere University on 26 March 2011, WRA Uganda held an evaluation meeting to reflect on the processes and actual execution of the event. It was also to congratulate ourselves, check on the success, the underlying factors and some weaknesses so that they could be put right in future events. The meeting took place on 14th April 2011 at Faze2 Restaurant in Kampala.

In the meeting, members noted that the Youth concert was a success and the youth who were involved in the preparations were highly applauded. The National Secretariat appreciated outstanding committee members for having played a key role and rewardeded them as a motivation and keep the momentum high! These included Tracy Walakira, Chombo Henry and I was inclusive.

Extreme left is Ms Robina Biteyi (National Coordinator) while addressing participants on 26th March 2011 at Faze2 Restaurant in Kampala

Ms Robina Biteyi (National Coordinator WRA Uganda) was very appreciative and commended the youth for all their efforts that made the Concert a success. Mr. Senfuka Samuel, Project Officer chaired the evaluation process and was also the Chairperson of the Concert Organizing Committee. Others who attended the evaluation meeting included Mrs. Jean Irumba, Ms Katy Woods, Mr. Sebugwawo David, Makerere University Students representatives including Mr. Dennis Adim Enap the Students Guild Speaker and the WRA Uganda youth members were effectively represented as well.

Mr. Nsinda Elman receiving a gift from Ms Robina Bietyi, National Coordinator

A section of participants in the Youth Evaluation meeting pose for a photo after the meeting