Saturday, 2 April 2011

Save The Children - More Midwives Campaign

Most of us are thinking about 'Mothers Day' at this time of year. We are out buying cards, presents and organising what we will be doing for the day. My thoughts turn to Mums that are not so lucky to be here and celebrate with their loved ones. Not only my own lovely Mum but other people too and after receiving an email from Save The Children it got me thinking about Mum's who die during child birth in the poorer countries.

We are so lucky to live in a country where we receive, usually very good health care checks during our pregnancies. None of us need to be without a midwife who we can receive our antenatal checks from, advice, medications and most important assist in the birth.

Some women in poorer countries do not have this valuable service that we take for granted over here in the UK and every year 1.3 million babies die due to complications of giving birth and a lack of midwives being present to assist. I personally would not be here today and neither would my kids if it wasn't for regular antenatal checks as I have a small pelvis and have to have C-Sections.

Yesterday Save The Children launched a 'Missing Midwives' campaign as part of the 'No child born to die'. They have been working alongside Davina McCall and Stacey Solomon to raise awareness and campaign to provide training for more midwives in poorer countries. Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children, says:

“While in the UK our thoughts turn to our own mums this weekend, we must not turn our backs on the mums and babies who will die today during birth or from complications associated with it.

No mother should face giving birth without help. It doesn’t have to be complicated: someone who knows how to dry a baby properly and rub its back to help it breathe can make the difference between life and death. No child is born to die.”

Fuzia is expecting her first child and Eva is a midwife at a 'Save The Children' run ante natal clinic in Mvolo, Southern Sudan. In the photo above she is checking Fuzia who is 28 and expecting her first child. Eva thinks that Fuzia is probably around 28 weeks pregnant because the baby is breached. She checks many women like this and offers them information on family planning, STIs and distributes medicines and mosquito nets, as well as safe delivery kits. Eva often feels really sad because sometimes women have died because they haven’t been able to get transport to the clinic.

The biggest killers of children in southern Sudan are malaria, diarrhoea and respiratory infections. These ailments are so easy to treat but only one in four people are within reach of a functioning health centre.

The health system here has been in a bit of a mess after 20 years of devastating conflict and only 13% of children are immunised against the diseases that are killing them and only 12% of families have a mosquito net that is vital weapon against stopping the spread of malaria.

'Save the Children' support Primary Health Care Units who provide essential basic health care services. The main services provided are free consultations and basic medicines to people who would not otherwise have access to proper health care. This simple intervention addresses the preventable deaths in young children, a lot of who do not reach five years in age.

Grace is a midwife who is in charge of the 'Kangaroo care ward' in the Mtwara District hospital in Tanzania. In this photo she is teaching Zainabu how to hold her seven-day-old son, Yasini. Yasini was born premature and his mother travelled the 2km by motor rickshaw to the hospital after feeling labour pains.

Once she gave birth safely Zainabu was presented with swaddling, a blanket, and a knitted hat for her baby. Grace then proceeded to train the new Mum to hold her prem baby close to her bare skin and wrap him up so that she could maintain direct body contact with him. This is extremely important for premature and low birth-weight babies as it helps regulate their tiny bodies temperature via the mother’s own body temperature.

Zainabu was also shown how to feed appropriate amounts of breast milk to her child and educated in simple hygiene techniques such as washing her hands and cleaning her breasts before feeding. Learning these essential techniques saves the lives of many children. This necessary and life saving training is again supported by 'Save the Children'.

Want to help? Then pop over to Save The Children here and see how you can contribute. Please take a few minutes and pledge your support with other mothers today here.

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