SAFE Internship and Practicum Opportunities!

 

Are you passionate about global maternal and child health? Do you want to learn how to make real-world impact on the ground by actually doing it? Are there any skills you want to hone related to research, programming, or international development? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then apply to join the SAFE team in Uganda this year!

SAFE has been taking students, recent graduates, and professionals to Uganda to partner with rural communities to improve maternal and child health for almost 10 years. We have opportunities both in research and in programming, and are looking for the right candidates to fill each position as a vital component of our dedicated team. Projects descriptions are below:

Survivor Stories: Student will utilize story-telling to influence birth preparedness and care-seeking behaviors. SAFE emphasizes compelling storytelling and listening to the community’s perspective. The story-telling can take a variety of forms—audial, visual, mixed—all aimed at positive behavior change for improved community health. Project will be conducted in partnership with past SAFE program beneficiaries. Background in storytelling and qualitative interviewing is helpful.

Surgical Capacity Assessment: SAFE seeks to better understand local surgical capacity. Student will conduct a literature review and design/implement a mixed methods evaluation to assess access and quality of surgical care, with emphasis on the Bellwether procedures. Background in mixed methods research is required.

SAFE Facility Support: SAFE seeks a clinical health student (medical, nursing, or physicians assistant) student or recent graduate to facilitate a mixed methods assessment of the health facility we run. Activities will include a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the facility’s inventory and case load, forecasting of case load by type of cases by month and by year, observational assessments and in-depth interviews, that should inform a discussion about new ways to link the community to the facility and increase intervention utilization.

Community Partners: Student will partner with an assigned community group to develop new community outreaches and implement them at a community health fair. Community groups utilize music, dramas, and songs to educate the community about topics such as the Three Delays, the importance of seeking antenatal care, nutrition, family planning, birth preparedness, and the need for male involvement during the pregnancy timeline. Ideal student for this position has a background in health education, theater, or another related topic.

The RESCU-ME (Rural Emergency Surgical Care for Under-5 and Maternal Emergencies) Project: Student will work with SAFE staff to expand a comprehensive emergency referral network for surgical care need during and after birth. Emphasis of this project will be placed on partnership and systems building, costing, advertising, and piloting an expanded model of a current system. Background in health systems or emergency medical services helpful; will gladly accept a multi-disciplinary team of students working together.

Tweena (“Even Us”): A Labor Support Program: An interdisciplinary team, comprised of a trained doula, L/D nurse, or midwife and a businessperson will work with our community group of traditional birth attendants to design and pilot a doula-like birth support program. The goal of this program is to repurpose TBAs to escort women to a health facility for delivery and help them provide socio-emotional support, while also helping them build it into a viable business.

Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Ambassadors: Student will leverage local leadership by empowering people to become MCH ambassadors. Student will set in place methods for MCH ambassadors to keep records of demographic information, update data quarterly to reflect accurate information, and act as local advocates of maternal and child health, leading by example through practicing positive health-promoting behaviors such as nutritional demonstration gardens. The project aims to turn local leadership into ambassadors who can educate the community on relevant health topics and be a source of mentorship and consultation for mothers and families. Ideal student for the project will possess knowledge of behavior change theory.

Olugendo (“The Journey”) Critical Referral Mapping: Student will restructure and streamline the referral system to enable pregnant mothers to receive the necessary care, particularly in emergency situations. Mapping of routes, available resources at each facility, and available health providers using satellite images and handheld GPS unit in the field to produce an interactive map will improve a mother’s ability to receive timely and adequate services in times of life or death. Helpful background includes exposure to or interest in GIS and knowledge of health systems strengthening.

Hidden Stories of Teenage Mothers: Teenage mothers are a marginalized group that experiences negative stigma, which can lead to the failure to receive sufficient health services and decreased health outcomes. Student will develop programs to specifically support teenage mothers with the goal of removing stigma and empowering teenage mothers to find a new start for their lives. The project will support teenage mothers to seek antenatal care, deliver in health facilities, and find their next steps post-pregnancy. Student must possess compassion and sensitivity; knowledge of adolescent sexual and reproductive health and education helpful.

Makuutu Community Group Expansion: As SAFE is expanding into a new sub-county this year, student will support the expansion process and the formation of SAFE community groups. The project will synthesize lessons learnt from existing community groups and set the foundation for new groups. Student will be improve their recruitment process, structure, and operation with the hopes of creating sustainable community groups that have the skills and passion to solve their communities’ health issues. Knowledge of health education and behavior change helpful.

The SAFE Ssebo (Man): Student will work to understand the male perspective on general, reproductive, maternal and child health decisions and services, and then help men organize into groups to lobby for health improvements in their communities, with emphasis on health issues pertinent to MCH populations.

A SAFE Story: Designed for undergraduate students or volunteers from non-health-related fields getting their first taste of global public health, this internship asks the student to live and work alongside a SAFE community group to understand the community group members’ lives, struggles and triumphs in relationship to maternal and child health. You will learn about qualitative interviewing techniques and develop a semi-structured interview guide before you depart for Uganda, then in Uganda you will interview each group member to document their individual stories as well as plan a maternal and child health outreach with the group as a whole. Any stories you gather may be added to a book SAFE officers are authoring about the struggles and triumphs of Ugandan families and their journey to improve maternal and child health. If published, you will be acknowledged as a contributing author.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Where will I live?

You will either live at the SAFE office in town, or in a village intern house, depending on the unique needs of your project. At either location, you will be staying with SAFE staff, and often with other students.

Question: What are the pre-requisites in terms of age, training, and background?

Pre-requisites are project-specific, though all volunteers must be adaptable, flexible, have cultural humility, and a desire and willingness to learn. Additionally, all volunteers are required to go through SAFE’s 7 week online preparatory course, which focuses on development ethics, maternal and child health, and skill/knowledge development specific to the project on which the volunteer will be working. We do take undergraduate students every year, and sometimes have families/groups for specific projects, but a majority of our interns are MPH, MD, or other terminal degree students. If you have questions, let’s talk!

Question: Do you take groups?

We love working with groups! But there has to be a good fit. We are committed to responsible, ethical, and long-term development work. That means that our volunteers really do have to possess the desire and ability to provide a tangible service to the community that responds directly to a stated need. We have worked with university groups, medical teams, and some families. If you feel that your group might be interested in working with us, reach out! We will gladly set up a time to chat.

Question: How much does it cost?

You will pay a program fee that covers the cost of your in-country transport, housing, and dinner every night you stay at SAFE-provided housing, along with programmatic staff who set up your accommodations and provide programming and translation services to the project on which you will be working. For individual students, the cost is $520 base + $180/week. The base cost covers expenses that do not change regardless of the amount of time you stay in Uganda—transport to and from the airport, supplies for cooking and sleeping, project staff to set up your accommodations, and a contribution to the project on which you will be working. The weekly costs include communication, translation services, food and accommodations, and project-related transport. If you are part of a group or arrange to arrive on the same day as three or more other volunteers, we can provide a discount to your program fee. For more information, please contact us. Other costs you should budget for include airfare to/from Entebbe, Uganda, visa ($100 at the airport), immunizations, malaria meds, breakfast, and personal expenses.

Question: How do students and volunteers cover the costs?

Many of the students who work with us receive grants from their schools. We are very happy to help you write proposals or provide letters of support or explanation. Students and general volunteers have also utilized personal fundraisers or letter-writing to earn money towards their in-country costs. We have a template form letter that accepted candidates are welcome to adapt to their personal needs, should it be helpful.

Question: How do I apply?

If you are interested in joining our team, please send an email to info@safemotherssafebabies.org with your most recent CV/resume, the top 2 projects in which you are interested, and a summary of what you are hoping to gain from your SAFE experience. We look forward to hearing from you!

R&B/Soul Artist Rome Alexander Donates 50% Proceeds to SAFE!

Rome Banner

The incredibly talented, soulful musical artist, Rome Alexander, wrote and performed a cover of the Boyz II Men song “A Song for Mama” for a Mother’s Day present. But when she insisted that he share it with others, Rome decided to sell his song and donate half the proceeds to an organization working to improve maternal health. And who did he pick?

SAFE!

We couldn’t be happier to have this partnership with Rome Alexander! Rome’s “A Song for Mama” was released on November 25th, and 50% of all the sales from it will be donated towards SAFE’s life-saving partnerships with Ugandan communities, based on the belief that no mother should die while bringing life into the world.

Get your copy of Rome Alexander’s “A Song for Mama” on iTunes today for only $0.99! You’ll support SAFE while also enjoying a beautiful tribute to mothers everywhere.

June in Uganda: SAFE interns at Ibulanku and Lubira health centers

A group of medical and public health students from the University of Texas recently returned from Uganda where they were working on a variety of projects pertaining to SAFE’s e-Ranger motorcycle ambulance program, which was launched just last summer!


Along with SAFE’s Program Manager Mukalu Medie, the group consisted of SAFE interns Danika Brodak and Rica Mauricio who worked with Lubira health center, as well as Brittany Meyers, Youstina Ishak, and SAFE practicum student Paul Tumbu – the subgroup that worked at Ibulanku health center.


Since the e-Ranger program is already established at Ibulanku, the main goal of the Ibulanku subgroup was to assess the overall effectiveness of the program. The group met with the staff at Ibulanku health center to determine generally how the project is faring. They also gathered delivery and antenatal records from the hospital to gauge both how e-Ranger patient information was being collected by the midwives and to see the raw numbers of how many mothers in labor were being effectively transported by the e-Ranger ambulances.


The group also met with MABEDA drama group to assess how the club is using drama performance to promote the use of the e-Ranger motorcycle ambulances in their community.  Community involvement is absolutely essential to the e-Ranger program, because without the community’s support and active involvement, the project would have never been implemented. This emphasizes how important community is in ensuring the health of mothers and babies and families in general! With this in mind, also meeting with the Village Health Teams was helpful in order to discuss their role in community mobilization relating to the use of the motorcycle ambulances to promote safe deliveries – both of women to the health center and of their babies!


Finally, the group at Ibulanku spoke with a former e-Ranger user who shared her experience utilizing the motorcycle ambulance service and asked her if she would help spread the word to other pregnant women in the community. In following with this encouragement, the team also conducted health education sessions for the pregnant women in the antenatal care clinic and discussed with them how to prepare for a safe delivery.


While the e-Ranger program has been running for a year at Ibulanku health center, the program has not yet been established at Lubira, but the SAFE team was working hard to gain the support of health workers and the community at large so that SAFE can launch the program there and thus make the service available to even more mothers in labor! The Lubira subgroup conducted a meeting during which a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Lubira community health center and the Buyanga sub-county community groups. They also met with the Lubira management committee and the health facility staff to discuss the logistics of launching the program.


Also at Lubira, SAFE coordinated many maternal and child health-related activities including having several groups perform dramas about important health topics. SAFE also provided immunizations and conducted HIV testing and referred individuals to the clinic for treatment. The safe mama kit program was also launched, providing mothers with a package of supplies necessary for a clean and safe birth.

Overall, the June 2012 trip was very productive and a great success! The interns paved a great road for the successive group of interns who just arrived in Uganda! The July interns plan on carrying out refresher training with the traditional birth attendants in obstetric emergency response and referral for complicated cases. They are also currently working to follow up on the work done in June on the process of launching the e-Ranger program at the Lubira health center.


Excellent work done by all the June interns, and stay posted for an update about the July trip soon!

Health workers and patients respond positively to Solar Suitcase Installations

The Safe Mothers, Safe Babies team (comprised of SAFE CEO and Founder Jacquie Cutts, Jacquie’s husband and Technical Director Richard Cutts, and SAFE intern Rachel Fisher) recently returned from their trip to Uganda having successfully completed 21 Solar Suitcase Installations! The Solar Suitcases have already made a huge impact in the ability of health workers to save the lives of many mothers and babies, by providing light during the rampant power outages currently affecting Uganda. Jacquie interviewed many of doctors, nurses, midwives, and patients about their experiences. Here are the testimonials from health workers at several hospitals in which Solar Suitcases have been installed:

Iganga District Hospital Staff: Rebecca, nurse at the Iganga Hospital Operating Theater:

“It has helped us. The previous night, power went off. And we were switched on the solar system, and we continued with our operation. It was successful, and it helped us so much. We are so grateful.” “We couldn’t resuscitate the baby because we had only the torches. The torches we were moving. But now the power was there, so somebody was there to resuscitate the baby while the operation continued. We finished both successfully.”

Installation at Iganga District Hospital Operating Theater



Nurse from the Iganga District Hospital Maternity Ward:

“Well before, we used to have a generator. But then it broke. It’s about sustainability. If there is no fuel, it is not sustainable. When power goes off, you have to operate by kerosene. Sometimes we don’t have paraffin. Then we have to use cell phones… and that is not enough light.”

Light installed on non-functional operating theater light, allowing the physicians to point the light wherever they need it to go!

Dr. Kato, anesthetist officer at Iganga District Hospital Operating Theater:

“When the power goes off during an operation, we use whatever is around. A torch. This is very stressful during an operation, and the light is not sufficient, but this is all we had.” In our country, we don’t have enough power. Normally, it goes off. There are so many stories about the power going off in operations, I can’t even tell them all. We just use whatever torch is around, and do our best. When the American friends installed the solar power, that very night it went out and we had just started a cesarean section. One of the staff had been trained in the use of that Solar Suitcase, and she switched it on. We were able to finish the operation successfully. Then, there was another one which was pending, and we did the second operation because we had enough light. Iganga is one of the busiest hospitals—it’s a district hospital. Even it is on the main highway and there are passengers from many other countries who get in accidents at night. So now we will be able to treat them properly even if the power is off. Now, with the solar, patients will be handled timely, more efficiently, and we won’t have any need to transfer patients to the next hospital which is Jinja because of light. All operations now will be carried out here.”   

Class trained at the Iganga District Hospital, including staff from both the theater and the maternity ward.

Bugiri District Hospital Staff:

Dr. Steven, acting superintendent at the hospital, and Nurse Akirwye, nursing office from Maternity Ward:

Nurse: “When power goes off and we have a mother that is delivering, what we’ve been using is our small torches on our phones. That’s what we use. Maybe if a patient can afford to buy a small candle, it also helps us in lighting. But that is all.”

Doctor: “For cesarean mothers, if there is fuel, we can put on the generator, but if there is no fuel, we are forced to refer these mothers to another hospital, to the Iganga Hospital, which is very expensive and the mothers can’t afford the fuel to put in the ambulance to transfer them. In the worst cases, we find that if there is no power here, there is also no power in another hospital—it isn’t there either.” 

Nurse: “The light is not enough, especially if there is a tear. Because if the mother got a tear, then we need to suture it, but if the light isn’t there, we make her wait until morning, that’s when we have to repair the tear. And even resuscitation. If we can’t see well, we can’t resuscitate the babies adequately. And we can’t even score these babies so well [referring to APGAR]. Because we have to score the skin color, but we can’t, so we fail to know whether exactly the baby is okay or not.”

Doctor: “When it comes to monitoring, you can’t monitor a baby in darkness. You can’t tell whether the baby is doing well or not.”

Doctor: “In theater, you can be operating and then power goes off. All of a sudden, total darkness. It can be very tricky, if you have just removed the baby, to tie the bleeders if power has gone off. But now that we have the Solar Suitcase, we can easily switch on. Then we can continue with the operation. Because it can be very difficult even to wait to find somebody to go and switch on the generator, if you are just waiting in the theater. Even 10 minutes, can be dangerous. It will be a very great help for us, because now we just will easily switch on the solar power.”


A pregnant woman at Nsinze Health Center IV:

“They have told me what you brought here—the Solar Suitcase, so that we have light at night, and now I know that my baby will be safe. I am so very, very grateful. So I thank you, madam. Thank you so much, thank you so much.”

Midwife at Nsinze Health Center learning to use the Solar Suitcase lights.








































Class trained at Nsinze Health Center IV


Sulaiman Lule, managing director of Ibulanku HC III:

“Now we’re going to start delivering mothers without fearing the blackouts from hydroelectricity power. We are very grateful for that.” “The WE CARE Solar Suitcase is going to help us a lot because now when mothers deliver at the health center and there is a power blackout because of the power rationing from the hydroelectricity, the patients will find the light on and we shall be delivering the babies when there is enough light and delivering babies safely.”

Midwife at Nsinze Health Center using the headlamp for the first time.

Wonderful job SAFE team!!

Attention Anyone Wanting Experience: Join SAFE!

Safe Mothers, Safe Babies is growing, and we’ve reached a point that we now need more people to join our team! We are currently accepting applications for the following positions:

  • Director of Research and Development: Researches the best practices in the field for each of SAFE’s projects and influences programming decisions based on that research. Also seeks to present SAFE’s experiences and lessons learned to shape other organization’s understanding of best practices.
  • Donor Relations Chair: Responsible for grant reporting and keeping in touch with SAFE’s donors. This includes follow-up after grant or donation dispersal as well as keeping an ongoing database of donors current.
  • Communications Manager: Responsible for generating content for the Safe Mothers, Safe Babies website, social media, blog, newsletter and annual report.
  • Media Relations Manager: Will develop and implement a strategic media relations plan.  This will include sending press releases and pitch letters to members of the media in both the United States and Uganda around key SAFE initiatives and events to generate positive coverage of SAFE’s work and promote maternal and newborn health initiatives more broadly.
  • Fundraising Team Members: Will plan and execute domestic fundraisers and education campaigns.

The requirements for volunteering: dedication to maternal and child health, appreciation of the participatory development approach (working WITH people instead of for them), ability to work well both independently and as part of a team, and a minimum of at least 2-4 hours per week (depending on position).

For more information on any of these positions, or information on volunteering with SAFE in Uganda, please email safemothers.safebabies@gmail.com, or visit www.safemotherssafebabies.org and click on “contact us.” 
Thank you!!
– The SAFE Team