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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

She Decided to Help

I know someone who wasn't afraid to step forward and be a part of the solution.  The following is a guest post from a woman named Jamie Dellesky.  Look her up on her website:

Jamie in the Philippines
1,000. I still remember the day that number broke my heart. Shattered it into a million tiny pieces. That’s the average number of women & young girls who die each day because of pregnancy & childbirth related complications. That’s the equivalent of the number of passengers in 4 jumbo jets crashing everyday. Experts say that 80 % of these complications can be prevented if there were simply a trained birth attendant present.  

About two years ago, as I was reading about birth in developing countries, the above statistics were what I found. Alarming. Heartbreaking.  I had spent the past 11 years serving women in my community as a doula & I could see first hand how skilled + knowledgeable care helped to protect the lives of mother’s and babies. I had no idea that my sisters in other countries, specifically developing countries, were losing their lives giving birth because of a lack of care.

As this began to pierce my heart, I then began to ask God about how I could help. Surely, there was something I could do. But what could one family do that could make a difference?  The more I researched, the more I kept finding that the world needed roughly 300,000 new midwives. Midwives that are trained in life saving skills, midwives that can go to where the women live to make accessibility possible, midwives that can give safe, kind & loving care, the kind of care that every mother and baby deserve.

A simple equation began to work itself out in my mind. If what is needed are midwives + I am capable of learning =then I need to train to become a midwife.  After much prayer and leading from God, that’s exactly what I did.

Last year, my husband & our 3 boys gave up our home, our jobs, sold most of our possessions & packed up the rest and moved to the Philippines to train with a non-profit organization that runs free birth clinics for women in poverty. I spent the year learning how to care for high-risk women & provide life saving skills for those who needed it.  We worked hard to learn more about the problems of resource poor countries & the issues that affect women and children. We witnessed not only the problems that create this global health crisis, but also the solutions. So many women that we served in the birth clinic could have very easily died during or after their births had they not had the life saving care we were able to give.  Excellent care that is free & accessible as well as loving and kind, this is what we see to be working.  This past year of training built a foundation for us that will help us to go into other areas of need in the world.

For us now, that place is Africa. Of the 20 worst countries to be born, 19 of them are in Africa. We are moving to Tanzania to partner with a local church in Dar es Salaam. We will be working on developing an outreach to mothers & babies in a very poor area of this city. This outreach will include aspects of health care that are needed such as health education, nutritional support & baby care. The life- time risk of a woman dying in childbirth in Tanzania is 1 in 23. Our long- term goal is to eventually start a free birth clinic in this neighborhood. 

We also hope to start our own non-profit that can reproduce a healthy model of care within resource poor countries.  A model that offers loving care from local midwives with life saving skills.

We have come to realize that if a lack of midwives means high maternal/infant mortality, then the answer is to provide more midwives. Its not hard to do, there’s enough money & resources in the world, it’s simply a matter of redistributing it.

*This family is raising funds to go to Africa.  If you feel you would like to help with that, their website is listed at the beginning of this post.

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