Tomah nurse midwife Kathy Kett says she was born to deliver babies so a recent mission trip to Uganda fulfilled her passion to help expecting moms.
After delivering more than 2,500 babies over her career, Kett took her experiences and expertise to Africa to help expecting moms and help teach nurses as part of a five-week Uganda medical mission in April through Loving One by One ministries at the organization’s 23- bed hospital in Graceland located in the village of Luwunga in Central Uganda, southwest of the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
“It was wonderful,” Kett said of the trip, which included the birth of 20 babies. “The reaction from mothers was very good. At one point I could hear them talking about me and I asked what they were talking about and they said that ‘I cared too much’, but they really liked it,” Kett said with a smile. “Women were getting nice cool cloths to their heads and some comforting back massages that we do here, but is not the common practice in Uganda.”
Kett originally learned of the mission from some Tomah residents who took part in past medical missions. “I’ve always been interested in missions and had spent some time in Kenya back in 1987 and delivered babies there for a summer, and I loved it,” Kett said. “The environment was very rural. The city was big city. It was very similar to what I had incurred earlier in Kenya.”
Even though some might consider the country as a difficult place to live, Kett said the people thrive because of love and family.
“The world there is different and the children don’t have the resources that we have in America but they have a lot of family and that love is what really sustains them,” Kett said. “If you look at the difference of what we have here and what is there in a difficult standpoint; they don’t find it difficult. It’s what their culture and their community is and they’re very loved by their parents and family.”
Kett initially said that she was not too concerned about traveling to the area in light of the COVID pandemic. “When we were there, we had only one person that they thought might be COVID positive, which turned out to be negative. But about two-weeks after I left, COVID hit and it hit hard.” Kett explained that the biggest issue with COVID was trying to get enough oxygen to patients. “Staffing was also very slim.”
Another important part of the mission was teaching hospital midwives, nurses and hospital staff. “We did some education and they were very receptive to the education,” Kett said. “They are very hungry for teaching and for learning so that was great.”
Kett said she was fortunate to receive supplies from members of her church and from Tomah Health, which were well received. “Each of the babies got a blanket and a hat which they thought was great. It was really fun to give them something that was handmade by somebody in America, and they thought that was so special.”
Ken and Sherry Roberts founded Loving One by One ministries after their first visit to Uganda in 2004 when they experienced the extreme poverty and medical needs of the poor. The ministry serves impoverished children and their families in Uganda by facilitating Christ-inspired physical, spiritual and educational changes in their lives. “They are wonderful people to work with,” Kett said of the organization. “They are doing things from their heart and it is all donation based. It’s exciting to see how much good people from all over the world can do by donating and giving of themselves.”
Kett is making plans to return to Uganda in March. “Some people never find what they were created to do. But I found what I was put on Earth to do, and that’s to be with birthing families and I love it; it fills me up as a person. It’s not a job, it’s not work, it is a passion and I’m thrilled to be able to go and do it.”
Kett encouraged anyone interested in learning how to help the mission to visit the Loving One by One website at www.lovingonebyone.org.