Jul 8, 2013

let's build a maternity clinic together!


This month I have the distinct pleasure of helping build a maternity clinic in Asiri, Ghana. Asiri is a small rural village addressing the critical issues of maternal & infant health and obstetrics in the village.

While traditional midwife practices have been used as long as the village has existed, there are many aspects of it that are potentially exceedingly damaging and life-threatening to both mother and child. Babies are often pulled out too roughly, causing life-long damage to the child’s body, and aren’t given to the mother to nurse upon delivery. Gloveless fingers inserted into the mother continuously during labor, between the midwife cooking food, caring for children and going about her daily life, readily create infection.

Among countless other concerns, there is no testing for diseases, HIV/AIDS, or anything else, as there is for births in proper clinics. (from the Indigogo site)
Imagine being a woman or girl in a dusty rural village, walking into an unlit room without access to electricity or running water. You remove all of your clothing and lie down on the cement floor as labor pains wrack your body. You prepare yourself for the most painful event of your life, one that very well might kill you.
There are no drugs to dull your pain, no gloves to protect you from germs, no instruments to monitor your baby's progress, and not a single doctor or nurse nearby. Labor will continue for hours on end, perhaps even days. This is the most natural human phenomenon in the world, yet it's absolutely terrifying. You have lost control of your body. You know of many women and infants in the village who have not survived this.
Once your baby is born she is placed on the ground off to the side while the midwife focuses on you - the one with the better chance of survival. Once you are cleaned up and sleeping she turns her attention to the baby. Hopefully the baby doesn't aspirate amniotic fluid or meconium since there is no bulb syringe to clean out her nose and throat. Hopefully she doesn't need medical attention because none is near. Hopefully she will live..
This story seems so foreign to me -- when I had Owen it was in a well-stocked and amazingly staffed hospital, surrounded by the best my city (and my health insurance) could offer. Had I given birth to Owen in rural Africa, where this story originates, my chances of survival would have been slim due to Owen being breech and my needing a C-section.

I became acquainted with Jasmine, the Peace Corps worker raising the funds for the new maternity clinic, when she contacted me, requesting my help. Excited at her ideas, I immediately jumped on board! Jasmine has started an Indiegogo campaign, which will run for just 26 more days! She is looking to raise just over $14,000 to finish building the much-needed maternity and birthing clinic that will be used to not only build the clinic, but help stock it full of supplies!

Your donation of as little as $20 will help bring this much-needed clinic to life! For my part, for every $20 donation made I will be sending a handmade cap to the clinic! My hope is to stock the shelves full of hats for babies who will be born for years to come -- and I need your help!

Right now the campaign has reached 10% of its goal, leaving quite a bit to go in the next 26 days. Won't you consider donating just $20 to this amazing cause? I'm excited to make as many hats as donations, and will be sharing photos here each week, as well as on Instagram!

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