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Harnessing limited resources with big impact

Eve Nakabembe and attendees at the third annual MacGlObAS Joint Department Chair Rounds

Dr. Eve Nakabembe (centre) is working to reduce global maternal and newborn mortality. She visited McMaster for the third annual MacGlObAS Joint Department Chair Rounds.

By Ruth Adair, May 31, 2019

Dr. Eve Nakabembe, senior lecturer, consultant obstetrician-gynecologist and global health advocate, visited McMaster this week for the third annual MacGlObAS Joint Department Chair Rounds.

The recipient of several awards, including Uganda’s National Heroes Medal: Golden Jubilee Medal and the Rising Star Award Grand Challenges, Nakabembe is director of the Mother Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative of Save the Mothers East Africa. Founded by Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese, Save the Mothers is a program that aims to train local leaders in the developing world to reduce maternal mortality in their own countries.

Nakabembe spoke about addressing health inequities in Uganda, harnessing low-resource innovations, and challenged participants to reflect on how local health inequities can be addressed with these low-resource innovations.

Working with hospitals to improve standards of care for mothers and newborns, Nakabembe has called for social and business reforms to provide women with better access to medical care and transportation. One solution has involved using toll free hotlines and mobile phone technology to link mothers in rural areas with trained health care workers.

Nakabembe’s work focuses specifically on multidisciplinary approaches to reducing global maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality, an area in which she is widely published.

“Dr. Nakabembe is an inspiring force – a busy physician, mother of three children, and champion of reproductive health and rights. She is a true global health advocate,” says Andrea Baumann, Associate V-P Global Health and director of the MSc Global Health program. “So events like this are critical because they’re a call to action: We need to work together to find innovative solutions in response to the Sustainable Development Goals and their targets – in this case ending preventable maternal and newborn deaths."

The event was sponsored by MacGlObAS – a new collaboration between McMaster University’s Global Health Office and departments of Obstetrics/Gynecology, Anesthesia and Surgery – and St. Joseph’s International Outreach program.

"When someone says global health they're talking about HIV or malaria or TB, but we as clinicians know there's so much more to global health than just these 'big three'," says Nakabembe. "MacGlObAs Is a great example of collaborations between disciplines and specialities to improve global health."