News publications and other organizations are encouraged to reuse Direct Relief-published content for free under a Creative Commons License (Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 International), given the republisher complies with the requirements identified below.

When republishing:

  • Include a byline with the reporter’s name and Direct Relief in the following format: "Author Name, Direct Relief." If attribution in that format is not possible, include the following language at the top of the story: "This story was originally published by Direct Relief."
  • If publishing online, please link to the original URL of the story.
  • Maintain any tagline at the bottom of the story.
  • With Direct Relief's permission, news publications can make changes such as localizing the content for a particular area, using a different headline, or shortening story text. To confirm edits are acceptable, please check with Direct Relief by clicking this link.
  • If new content is added to the original story — for example, a comment from a local official — a note with language to the effect of the following must be included: "Additional reporting by [reporter and organization]."
  • If republished stories are shared on social media, Direct Relief appreciates being tagged in the posts:
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Republishing Images:

Unless stated otherwise, images shot by Direct Relief may be republished for non-commercial purposes with proper attribution, given the republisher complies with the requirements identified below.

  • Maintain correct caption information.
  • Credit the photographer and Direct Relief in the caption. For example: "First and Last Name / Direct Relief."
  • Do not digitally alter images.

Direct Relief often contracts with freelance photographers who usually, but not always, allow their work to be published by Direct Relief’s media partners. Contact Direct Relief for permission to use images in which Direct Relief is not credited in the caption by clicking here.

Other Requirements:

  • Do not state or imply that donations to any third-party organization support Direct Relief's work.
  • Republishers may not sell Direct Relief's content.
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  • Advance permission is required to translate Direct Relief's stories into a language different from the original language of publication. To inquire, contact us here.
  • If Direct Relief requests a change to or removal of republished Direct Relief content from a site or on-air, the republisher must comply.

For any additional questions about republishing Direct Relief content, please email the team here.

Maternal Health, from Nigeria to Bangladesh

Dr. Ifthikher Mahmood and Dr. Steve Arrowsmith talk about women's health around the world.


Maternal Health

Dr. Ifthikher Mahmood, founder of HOPE Foundation for Women & Children of Bangladesh, and Dr. Steve Arrowsmith, Medical Director of the Fistula Foundation and Consulting Medical Director for Direct Relief, speak with Direct Relief's Andrew MacCalla on Nov. 1, 2018, during a staff briefing at Direct Relief's headquarters. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

Two health experts working for women around the globe spoke at Direct Relief’s headquarters on Thursday.

Dr. Ifthikher Mahmood, founder of HOPE Foundation for Women & Children of Bangladesh, and Dr. Steve Arrowsmith, medical director of the Fistula Foundation and consulting medical director for Direct Relief, spoke to staff and a small group of supporters.

The doctors have traveled the world to bring care to the most vulnerable women.

Dr. Mahmood was born in Southern Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazar, and knew from a young age he wanted to help his community.

“Our destiny [as humans] is in our childhood,”  the doctor said. “All that we see and do as young children impacts our path through life.”

He wanted a way to give back to those in his community. In 1999, he founded HOPE Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh.  The foundation operates a 40-bed hospital in Ramu Cox’s Bazar, as well as eight medical centers in rural areas.

Many women in Bangladesh lack access to a skilled birth attendant, and the country’s maternal mortality rate remains high. The hospital allows women a safe place to give birth and also facilitates training of local midwives.

In 2007, a deadly cyclone struck the region, and HOPE staff connected with Direct Relief  to coordinate shipments of medical aid.

“HOPE depended on Direct Relief so much it was unbelievable,” said Mahmood.

Direct Relief is coordinating with HOPE Hospital in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, to establish field hospitals throughout settlements of Rohingya refugees. (Photo courtesy of Josh Estey and HOPE Hospital)
Direct Relief is coordinating with HOPE Hospital in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to establish field hospitals throughout settlements of Rohingya refugees. (Photo courtesy of Josh Estey and HOPE Hospital)

The hospital’s mission became even more critical when nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees fled from neighboring Myanmar into Southern Bangladesh, just miles away from HOPE’s front doors. The hospital was suddenly confronted with a massive humanitarian crisis, and began to work with patients, one at a time and eventually expanded to providing care in the Rohingya camps.

The hospital provided  treatment like fistula repair, during which a surgeon repairs a fistula, or opening, that results from obstructed labor and can have devastating consequences. The hospital has been able to offer the surgery, sometimes to patients who have lived with the condition for decades. “Without Direct Relief supplies, like wound sutures, HOPE couldn’t have done the fistula surgery,” said Mahmood.

Arrowsmith, a surgeon has provided countless surgeries for women with fistula over the past 25 years, also spoke. Arrowsmith started the Fistula Repair Center in Jos, Nigeria, and also conducted surgeries at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.

He trains surgeons on how to do the surgeries, and said that he’s depended on Direct Relief surgical supplies for many surgeries.

When asked about identifying where and how to help, Arrowsmith encouraged organizations to continue supporting people on the frontlines of healthcare, like Dr. Mahmood.

“Find people with passion and a heart for what they do, and grab onto those who have that calling,” he said.

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