As in most refugee camps and settlements in developing countries, there are prevailing health issues, especially with diarrhoea, HIV/AIDS, malaria, skin diseases and many others. These maladies thrive as a result of congestion and inadequate health services or the lack thereof. There are other factors that could be attributed to certain cultural eccentricities, certain demographic persuasions and others.
However, no matter the cause of these health challenges, it is inexcusable that pregnant women, who are in labour and at the point of giving birth have to throw themselves on the mercies of the elements and the benevolence of friends and family because they are too poor to afford the life-saving care of hospitals and clinics.
This is the heartbreaking story of the woman in the pictures above, an urban refugee living in Uganda, who, unable to afford formal medical care, throws caution to the wind – some may even say ‘literally’ – and pushes out her baby in the dark at night and in the open.
Her story isn’t unique, as it emphasises a prevailing reality. Her story is however symbolic, because it exposes us on many fronts. Tell me, how many of us are not going to be filled with indignation, not just with this story but with the many others we watch on the news all the time? And yet how long does that indignation lasts?
Her story exposes our own vulnerability because everyone is just a decision, a tragedy, a gunshot, a natural disaster away from pushing out babies in the dark at night without the comfort of nurses and comfortable beds with white sheets.
It exposes our sense of helplessness and above all our weaknesses in thinking, ‘What can one person do?’ And yet when all of us who are filled with indignation come together we are no longer an individual but a group. Our ‘little’ is ‘much’ when we pool together.
At Refugee Aware, we aim to go beyond the statistics and politics and throw light on real refugee issues around the world, and we thank our operation in Uganda for sending the pictures. Support our office in Uganda; support us to achieve our aim.