Introducing Beginnings

Beginnings is a new initiative launched by Oxford University students in conjunction with award-winning children’s charity Viva and Community Health Global Network to improve maternal and child health in the Namuwongo and Bwaise slums in Kampala, Uganda.

We will work with local medical professionals, church and community organisations, and the Kampala City Authority to deliver basic medical interventions to children aged 0-12 months, provide health information for pregnant and nursing mothers, and organise referrals for specialist treatment.

Beginnings will organise the community based response and link it to wider but essential services already existing locally. We will get more work going, equip those already there and connect it all together so that more children get better help.

The focus is local, but the vision is global.

The Kampala project is a pilot seeking to develop a model of cost-effective, community-driven maternal and child healthcare that can be reproduced across urban slums worldwide, significantly reducing maternal and child mortality, empowering women, and accelerating progress towards Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.

The project working group in Kampala has already undertaken a baseline study of the community’s needs and is putting in place the networks which will deliver medical interventions. We’ve selected peer educators and are training them, as well as equipping them to reach out to their friends and neighbours.  We’re working closely with a handful of key small community based organisations and churches to reach into slum communities (as well as with the Kampala Capital City Authority).  At the moment we’re seeking funding so that we can keep the project up and running in the medium term.

We’ll be updating this blog as the project develops – so watch this space!