Blog by Katherine Brown
The princess has arrived. Like many royal watchers (including my mom), I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's new child. On Saturday May 2nd, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was born. I received news of the royal birth announcement in an unlikely but meaningful place - the maternity ward at Kawolo Hospital in Uganda.
The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth in the world-renowned private Lindo wing of St. Mary's Hospital in London. Both mother and baby received some of the highest quality medical care available. Despite challenges with staffing and resources, Kawolo Hospital is one of the best public health care facilities in Uganda. It has been a part of Save the Mothers' Mother-Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative working to improve conditions at the facility.
At one time Kawolo Hospital lost about 15 mothers a year to pregnancy and childbirth complications. That has now reduced to 1-2 deaths per year - a number that is still unacceptably high. With approximately 4,800 births per year, staff in the maternity ward are kept busy. Childbirth in Uganda and in many countries around the world is still one of the greatest threats to a woman's life in the developing world where access to obstetrical care is limited.
This is a cause that should matter to us all. The psalmist wrote of his Heavenly Father saying, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (Ps. 139:13-14) Every individual is uniquely created by God. Jesus told his disciples that every hair on their head was numbered. Each person has an immeasurable value as a child of God.
One of my favourite films growing up was A Little Princess. The protagonist, Sara Crewe, is forced into servitude at a girls school after her wealthy father is presumed dead. Despite her impoverished circumstances she boldly proclaims, "I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren't pretty or smart or young. They're still princesses...all of us."
Every new life is a cause for celebration. Every life has value. Hearing of the royal birth in a Ugandan maternity ward made me long for a day when every mother and baby would be given the same care and concern afforded a princess, because we are princesses...all of us.
PS: I am still raising money for my effort in the SAVE THE MOTHERS WALK on May 10th in Uganda. CLICK HERE to support me in the effort to affirm no mother or her child should die.
Katherine Brown is the daughter of Moira Brown. She is currently working in Uganda as an intern with Save the Mothers, a Canadian charity. The charity runs a Master in Public Health Leadership (MPHL) program at Uganda Christian University and Katherine serves as the assistant to Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese, the Executive Director of the program.