News & Updates

We're Moving to Our New Home

We're Moving to Our New Home

After over a decade of working towards this point, we are finally moving into our new home - the Clarke International University (CIU) owned building and campus in Bukasa. The setting is dramatic, the building looks out over a stunning view on one side, and is surrounded by a towering cliff face on the other. The journey to this point has had plenty of drama as well, huge efforts have been made to get us to this point, many sacrifices, and much investment both personally and financially from our founder and promoter Dr. Ian Clarke. 

The move is significant for a number of reasons. It signifies the solid commitment of CIU to ensure the permanence of the university, institutionally, and physically. It is a purpose-built facility, as opposed to a rented structure which we need to make compromises with. It also crucially removes the last barrier preventing the university from being able to apply for a university charter. Having our own home satisfies the National Council for Higher Education’s (NCHE) requirement for chartered universities to own their own campus., Finally, we can now apply for the University Charter.

CIU New home under construction

This milestone is also just the first step. This first phase is the building we are moving into, which provides a permanent home for CIU on a new campus. However, we have great and grand plans for continued growth. Our master plan, which will be achieved over some years, is for a campus that can accommodate over 4,000 students. This plan was developed with an architect specialized in university design., It will be a facility purpose-made for learning and student life, with immense care taken to ensure the fulfillment of the NCHENational Council for Higher Education requirements for universities, and making excellent use of the natural beauty of the environment and cliff faces around us.

As a values-based university, this facility will allow us to grow in directions that make the most impact on our communities and nation. We see today as the milestone that opens us up to the possibility of growth in our current programs, and the development of new programs, all with the explicit goal of #making a difference.

We thank the university founder and promoter Dr. Ian Clarke for his continuing investment in the University, without which this would not be possible. We thank Dr. Rose Nanyonga Clarke for steering this ship to bring us to this point. We thank our Registrar for being a constant and for her wisdom over the years, and our Director of Finance for the very tricky job of managing limited funds. We thank all those who are too numerous to name for working as part of the CIU leadership and family, for their dedication and commitment to the university, and we hope that they enjoy their new place of work. 

And we especially thank our students for choosing CIU. We hope that this new development helps to confirm to you that you made the right choice in doing so. 

 

The Midwife and the Nation

The Midwife and the Nation

My experience of midwifery encompasses both personal and professional lives.  First, like many Ugandans, I carry the ‘Maternal-Related’ experiences of my family and friends; good and tragic.  Secondly, I am privileged to be among the community of practitioners and educators of midwives in Uganda.  Therefore, when I was invited to speak at the International Day of the Midwife that took place at Ntare Senior Secondary School in Mbarara, Uganda, last year, I wanted to blend the stories that are familiar to me and the professional group that strives, every day, often under impossible conditions, to bring life safely into the world.  Midwives shape the story of a nation.  We ought to remember that!

For many of us, when we talk about maternal life, we remember not the hundreds of babies who are safely born every second around the world.  We cite, by heart, the number of women and newborns who will die in the next eleven seconds (UNICEF, 2017).  Or the more than eight hundred (800) who will die in a day due to pregnancy and childbirth-related complications, the majority of which are preventable.  These data translate into personal stories of tragedy.  This is the story of my beautiful cousin Betty.  A young, vibrant, brilliant mathematician, and a beloved mother of four (2018). It is the story of my beautiful niece, and, her little one (2018); the story of my sister-in-law and her little one (2006); and also, the story of my mother and her little one (1982), all of whom did not survive complications related to childbirth. I am sure you have your own story.

The maternal tragedy is not the story of one.  It is our collective story.  It is the story of the poor, members of parliament, of ministers and presidents.  It is the story of your sister, wife, mother, aunt, and grandmother.  It is the story of a nation.  And we so easily forget, that for every tragedy, there are millions of women and children who survive pregnancy and childbirth every day.  I am one of them. So are you.

Midwives have always been at the heart of the nations’ maternal story and they tirelessly shape it for better or for worse.  In Uganda, midwives oversee more than 2,000,000 babies who are born every year.  That is more than five thousand and five hundred (5,500) babies every day.  And yet, as crucial as midwives are, a gap of eight hundred and eighty-three (883) midwife positions in Health Center Twos (HC IIs) alone, exists countrywide (UNFPA, 2019). There are seven midwives per 1000 live births.  This means that a single midwife oversees more than 500 deliveries a year (more than twice the 175 recommended deliveries by the WHO), often under challenging circumstances and less than ideal conditions.  These data ought to keep us awake.  The WHO (2013) notes that midwives are “warriors on the front-line… battling to ensure that women survive childbirth and that babies are born safely even in the most marginalized areas”.  We know that access to skilled midwives/attendants mitigates child-birth related complications by up to 88% (State of the World Midwifery, 2014). That is an impressive figure.  And yet, corresponding investment in their education (including in-service training); regulation & resources, practice & work-place conditions have remained largely lacking.  

I often ask my students: why are you comfortable with this story?  Why don’t we have enough midwives?  We have and can (as a country) invest in a workforce that can effectively shape and change our maternal and child related story for the better.  Why aren’t we all rushing in? 

It seems to me, that beyond rhetoric, we have grown accustomed to these data.  And once a year, we enjoy the scheduled reminder of why and how midwives are important.  We make big speeches.  We march.  The media will throw in a story or two.  The President may even recognize and award a midwife or several.  One day is not an inconvenience.  Until next year.  

Frankly, this is simply not enough.  And it is a bit of a puzzle.  A critical gap exists between our occasional celebration of the midwife and our consistency in investment in the core areas that would significantly elevate the capacity of the midwives to continue to deliver on their outstanding promise: to bring life safely into the world.  

If we want our children, sisters, wives, mothers, aunties, and grandchildren et cetera., to be featured differently in the nation's maternal and child related data, we need to rush in.  A colleague recently said: that change, important change, means that we are evolving as individuals from: “thermometers who gauge the temperature of the room, to thermostats who set the temperature of the room!” Fellow Ugandan’s, here is this years’ challenge: What will you do as an individual to change and shape the story of the Midwife and the Nation? What and how will you invest?

We would like to hear about it.

Dr. Rose Clarke Nanyonga is the Vice-Chancellor at Clarke International University.

This article was originally posted by The National Health Care Conferences (NHCC)