The Guardian just ran a great article about how achieving maternal health goals hinges on talking to and working with the people in the field and local communities — the midwives and community health workers who are too often overlooked.
Every day, thousands of community health workers, voluntary groups, teachers, entrepreneurs and civil servants engage in development activities in their own communities. They’re hands on, responding to the needs of their communities – sometimes with the assistance of NGOs and donors, sometimes not. They know what works, because they’re out there doing it; and they know what doesn’t work, because they’ve seen it fail.
There’s a real danger that the post-2015 process – though inspired by the same noble aims as the millennium development goals (MDGs) – will also share their failings. That is to say, they’ll be a set of goals and targets created by distant elites, and they’ll treat people as passive recipients of aid and development. Yet people are tired of being told what they need.
From The Huffington Post’s Jonathan Lewis:
Next month, I’m going to save a mom from dying in childbirth. I am not a doctor, not even a trained paramedic. I don’t plan to make a donation or heroically travel to some impoverished village in some distant and dangerous place to volunteer.
On November 6th for a few brief minutes, I am going to think, act and vote like a global citizen.
This post is by Saving Mothers Medical Director Taraneh Shirazian, MD.
We’ve completed our surgical mission in Dominican Republic, and it was a great success! In just four days, we were able to evaluate 119 patients and perform surgery on 40, providing slings for urinary incontinence, anterior and posterior vaginal wall repairs and more.
Our team of 10 looked forward to each day because we were met with such great enthusiasm from the cooperadoras and the patients. No morning could begin without the daily group prayer, consisting of an oration and prayer songs, and a blessing for all participants.
Members of Saving Mothers’ surgical team.
This was followed by the first surgical cases of the day. And before every new patient was taken into the operating room, there were cheers and cries of joy for the next patient who would get the opportunity to have her medical issues resolved. How could we not look forward to every day in such a joyous environment?
In particular, we were struck by the strong sense of community at the ILAC Medical Center. All of the cooperadoras stuck around to help the medical team with the women waiting to be seen, and to help with the flow of the day. The patients themselves were extremely helpful and grateful to every member of the team for taking an interest in and helping them with their gynecologic concerns.
Women waiting to be evaluated at ILAC.
Throughout the mission, we also worked with physicians at ILAC who were supportive and accommodating of us, providing patients with medications they needed but could not pay for, and clinical evaluations if requested as part of pre-operative evaluations.
Several Ob-Gyn residents and students from the Dominican Republic showed up and participated in the clinical evaluations, and in return, we were able to provide them with some training in the various surgical procedures we were performing. It was wonderful to see this sense of camaraderie in action, and we look forward to continuing to see it on future surgical trips to this site!
Thank you so much again to all of our supporters who donated to make this trip possible. Your contributions made a huge difference for women in the Dominican Republic.
Uganda’s Population Secretariat (POPSEC) has started campaigning to make maternal health a human right. The project, launched on Thursday at Hotel Africana in Kampala, shifts the strategy from merely advocating for maternal health to creating massive awareness that it is, in fact, a human right.
Dr. Betty Kyadondo, the head of the Family Health Department at POPSEC said they hope this will empower all women with knowledge regarding their rights to health. Hopefully, this will exert pressure on the government to respond accordingly.
Read all about it on allAfrica.
Image courtesy of USAID.
WEGO Health is fielding nominations for its 2012 Health Activist Awards! Now’s your chance to nominate health activists leading the charge online. They may be physicians, nonprofit leaders, website community managers, Twitter moguls, Facebook experts, or amazing bloggers.
It’s time to honor the people who work tirelessly to spread health information and encourage others to become passionate about their health and the state of health care today. After all, they’re the people who really make a difference in how we think about health and how to live well.
Nominations are open for 12 awards honoring everything from excellent Twitter and Facebook feeds, to beautiful websites, to community building, to incredible issue advocacy.
We here at Saving Mothers are thrilled to see this important and often unsung category of health workers get the recognition they deserve.
We recently got a dispatch from Liberia Program manager Kiran Chawla updating us on what she’s been up to in the field. Kiran is an assistant professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the University of Maryland, and we’re incredibly fortunate to have her supervising our operations in Liberia. She’s been involved in several projects:
1) Teaching and training ultrasound technique (transvaginal and transabdominal). Working closely with and providing hands-on support to the facility’s single ultrasound technician, who is also the head of the OBGYN hospital.
2) Teaching and training new interns. Relaying the basics of obstetrics management to skilled students eager to learn. Kiran has 3 interns on her service and is teaching them the basics of making rounds and delivering patient care.
3) Teaching residents. Training physicians in the basics of gynecology and obstetrics management. Kiran has 3 residents on her service and is instructing them in complicated obstetric care and the fundamentals of gynecology.
4) Teaching midwives. Providing continuing education to local and traditional birth attendants in the basics of obstetrics management.
Stay tuned for more updates from Liberia, Guatemala and Dominican Republic. And remember, all the care we’re providing to women in need wouldn’t be possible without your support.