Jinja: Postpartum depression is a serious issue that affects a significant number of women worldwide. However, the problem remains largely unrecognized and untreated. This article sheds light on the prevalence and impact of postpartum depression, particularly in developing nations, with a focus on the situation in Jinja, Uganda. Through personal stories, expert insights, and available treatment options, the article aims to raise awareness and encourage support for affected mothers.
The Silent Struggle; Postpartum depression is a severe depressive episode experienced by some women after childbirth. It is estimated that only about 6 percent of women with postpartum depression seek mental health treatment each year. The article emphasizes that postpartum depression has far-reaching consequences, affecting not only the mother’s mental health but also various aspects of her life, including work, family, and the development of the baby.
The Situation in Jinja, Uganda, a study conducted by the School of Public Health, revealing that over 70 out of 300 women in Uganda experience depression after childbirth. Despite the presence of postpartum depression services at Jinja Referral Hospital, the uptake of these services remains low. Limited availability of screening facilities contributes to the underutilization of these vital resources.
To provide a firsthand perspective, the article shares the experience of Iwala Brenda, a resident of Namulesa village in Jinja. Brenda recounts her struggle with postpartum depression following the loss of her newborn child. Her story highlights the traumatic effects of postpartum depression and the challenges faced when dealing with the condition alone.
The article discusses the broader implications of postpartum depression, emphasizing that it not only affects the mother but also impacts the father and the infant. Left untreated, postpartum depression can develop into a persistent mood condition, affecting the family dynamics and the child’s development. Children with mothers who experience postpartum depression are at a higher risk of facing academic and behavioral challenges, as well as increased susceptibility to mental illnesses later in life.
Doctor Collins Outa, a general practitioner at Bridgestone Hospital, explains the causes and risk factors associated with postpartum depression. Hormonal changes during the transition from pregnancy to non-pregnancy play a role, along with factors such as mental illness history, pregnancy rejection, lack of support, past experiences of abuse, stressful living conditions, and financial constraints, and clarifies that postpartum depression should not be confused with baby blues or postpartum psychosis, as they involve different symptoms and severity.
Doctor Collins highlights various treatment options available for depressed mothers, including antidepressants, psychotherapy, hormone therapy, and screening. The importance of sustained treatment for at least six months is emphasized due to the risk of recurrence, and encourages seeking professional help and emphasizes the significance of a support system in the recovery process.