Christina Marchand in UgandaCo-op student helps deliver over 200 babies in Uganda

A fourth-year, Applied Health Sciences student, Christina Marchand spent her work term in Uganda last summer. While spending her days in an administrative role for a non-governmental organizaton, Save the Mothers, her evenings were spent in a local clinic helping midwives deliver babies. By the time she returned home, she had delivered 200 babies.

“In Canada we lose 16 mothers a year due to birth-related complications,” said Christina. “In Uganda, they lose more than 16 a day. I did what I had to do to help.”

Under the watchful eye of a midwife, Christina learned how to deliver a baby, give an episiotomy and even conduct a cesarean section. “I was nervous,” says Christina recalling her first time delivering a baby. “But the midwife said, ‘If you weren’t here, there would be nobody.’ I had never thought of it like that.”

As Christina’s confidence grew, so did her hours at the clinic. “There were instances when women couldn’t receive surgery because we were out of supplies. In Uganda something like a supply of rubber gloves can mean the difference between life and death. It’s horrible, but it’s reality,” she says.

Yet Christina was astounded at the strength of the women who arrived at the clinic. Many had travelled for days. “The strength of the women and the Ugandan people is amazing. It reaffirmed my passion for medicine and reaffirmed why I want to help.”

Back at uWaterloo, Christina is involved in the GreenHouse program at St. Paul’s University College where she is working on a project to  bring medical kits to hospitals in Uganda.

Read more of this amazing story on uWaterloo stories

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