Mother Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative

When you say the word “hospital”, most North Americans imagine busy, bustling places that are clean, fully staffed, and equipped with the latest life-saving technologies.

Unfortunately, that’s far from the reality at hospitals in Uganda, where 97 percent of health facilities do not offer needed emergency obstetric care services. In Uganda, close to three quarters of all maternal deaths occur in large regional and national referral hospitals, (to which women have been referred from lower health units).


There are three major delays that lead to mothers dying from pregnancy complications. The first is the delay in seeking care. The second delay is in transport to the facility, which can be hours or even days away from a laboring woman’s home. Finally, once at the health facility, medical treatment may be unavailable or unaffordable.

Now, Save the Mothers is working with Ugandan hospitals to help them become better equipped to provide the care mothers need.

Through our “Mother Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative” (developed with input from Uganda’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization), STM graduates are working with hospital administrators and staff in assessing, recommending and implementing changes, then monitoring the outcomes and progress in improving maternal and newborn services. From simple changes—such as adding curtains in the delivery room—to replacing 40-year-old operating room beds, the Mother Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is also delivering change by bringing about social transformation in hospitals so that mothers are treated with respect and dignity.

Mother Baby Friendly Hospital teams also engage related community-based organizations and personnel (including traditional birth attendants) to coordinate efforts toward reducing obstacles and barriers to safe motherhood, specifically addressing the delays laboring women face in getting to hospitals.

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