Women in Africa are the driving force of the Country, its strength. They do everything possible to get education, earn a salary which allow blended families to live and make their children study, cultivate the fields and above all they do not give up thanks to their inner power. But being a woman is still a challenge within a challenge: even if more and more are those trying to redeem themselves from a condition of economic and social disadvantage, the obstacles and difficulties to overcome are still many.
Fertility rates in Africa are the highest in the world. In Uganda every woman has an average of 6 children and 15% gives birth to her first child between the ages of 15 and 19. More than 1 in 5 women between the ages of 15 and 49 has experienced some kind of sexual abuse in her lifetime, and most of this violence happens within the household, especially in the rural areas where education is poor. Gender-based violence can have devastating consequences for their lives: very often they have to face unwanted pregnancies, abortions carried out in unsafe conditions, with the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections. Women conditions in Uganda are still extremely critical.
Recurring pregnancies are the main reason for health and social problems, especially when they are unwanted and happen in contexts of great poverty. A delicate and urgent issue. If fertility rates remain unvaried, United Nations forecasts expect that in 2050 the world population will be 10.6 billion and, with an unchanged trend, in 2100 it will reach 15.8 billion.
But with the stories of Gladys, Molly, Sida, Hellen who graduated from our Midwifery School, we have the proof that things can change, that the woman becoming self-efficient can overcome all the social problems by contributing to the community and protecting many new lives.
Work here at Kalongo hospital is in the hands of women: female nurses, doctors and midwives help in taking care of many mothers and children fighting mother-child mortality, and in training the midwifery school students.
Since its inception in 1959, about 1,500 midwives have graduated from the St. Midwifery School and, thanks to a proper training, they have professionally contributed to the prevention and the treatment of women not only in Uganda, but also in many Countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
The number of enrolled women has increased over the years and the annual average of female students who finish the courses is about 30 for the professional midwives course and about 12 for the head nurse midwives degree.
In addition to guaranteeing medical continuity in the maternity ward of the hospital, the School also contributes to the development of the social role of woman, considered important to reach the female empowerment. The training works entirely on the female figure and on being women, trying to help them to become independent in their decisions, to acquire common sense and clarity of thought without being influenced by the male figure.
Investing in women's empowerment means creating an essential prerequisite for the realization of social justice, it means encouraging a direct path towards gender equality, the eradication of poverty and an inclusive economic growth, especially in remote and rural areas of the world, where social, economic and cultural limitations are added to natural and environmental adversities. This is the important and forward-looking legacy that Father Giuseppe left us and for which he gave his life and that today can be read in the smiles, willpower and pride of all the students of the Midwifery School who know they can make the difference.
Thank you for helping us to make their dreams come true!