I remember giving birth to my first child like it was yesterday. I spent the first two evenings in the hospital frightened of my new role as a mother and greedily absorbing every bit of advice and information the nurses and doctors would give me. What a luxury it was for me to stay in the hospital for two nights- receiving care for not only my baby but for myself as well.
Lacor Hospital continues to make improvements to ensure mothers receive quality care, regardless of what they are able to pay, when they are ready to give birth. The greatest objective is to have ALL women deliver inside the Hospital under the care of a doctor or nurse. Far too many women deliver babies in their villages where they have no access to medical care if needed.
Last year Lacor Hospital delivered 6,388 babies, which was up 4% from the previous year. Along with the security of delivering inside a Hospital, these new mothers receive education and assistance from the Hospital staff.
Temporary housing was created last year at Lacor for pregnant women. This was in response to the fact that these women must often travel many miles by foot or bike to give birth in the Hospital. This is one of the biggest reasons why more women are not delivering their babies at the Hospital. The name “Gang Pa Min Atim” was bestowed upon these homes after careful consideration from both the Maternity Ward staff and the community.
In translation, “Gang” reflects a home-like atmosphere where women can stay with or without a member of their family while waiting to deliver. “Min Atim” was chosen in honor of the late Dr. Lucille Teasdale for all she did for the women served by Lacor. “Min Atim”, or mother of Atim, was the name given to Dr.Teasdale by local women.
“Atim”, the traditional name given to a girl who is born away from her home or village, was the name bestowed upon Dr. Teasdale’s daughter Dominique, when she was born at Lacor-far from her parents’ homes in Italy and Canada.
So, “Gang Pa Min Atim” tells us that these homes are named in honor of the mother of Dominique for of all she gave to the people of northern Uganda.
I had the pleasure of meeting a woman named Atim Betty who was sitting outside the Maternity Ward holding her three day old baby. I asked her for permission to photograph the baby. She agreed and requested some money so she could purchase soap for the child. (That, my friends, is good business sense. I would have never said no.) I happily obliged and not only did she allow me to take photos, she gave the baby a bath and asked that I videotape her. It was Betty’s belief that her child would be blessed because a person like me took the time to give her my attention.
I watched with amazement as Atim Betty carefully bathed her baby and powdered her and wrapped her and held her. This little girl, who was yet to be named, was happy, healthy and loved.
According to Betty, this is all thanks to the people of Lacor.