Maternal Health

Celebrating Moms and Midwives Around the World

A mother and baby spend time at the Danja Fistula Center  in Southern Niger. Direct Relief is committed to supporting healthy births around the world, and is working to equip local healthcare providers. (Photo by William Vazquez)
A mother and baby spend time at the Danja Fistula Center in Southern Niger. Direct Relief is committed to supporting healthy births around the world, and is working to equip local healthcare providers. (Photo by William Vazquez)

Pregnancy should be a time of joy and anticipation, but in too many parts of the world, it can be a life-threatening condition.

Midwives are the first line of assistance, providing high-quality care during routine deliveries and managing basic complications. They’re also trained to recognize when to refer a mother to emergency obstetric care.

Most obstetric complications could be prevented or managed if women had access to a doctor, nurse or midwife during childbirth, according to the World Health Organization.

But midwives can only do their work if they have the right tools.

Direct Relief’s Midwife Kit contains everything a midwife needs to deliver babies safely in almost any environment. Surgical instruments, sutures, IV sets, gloves, cord clamps, and more. Endorsed by the International Confederation of Midwives, the kit contains the 59 essential items a midwife needs to perform 50 facility-based safe births.

Indonesia

Healthcare providers with Bumi Sehat Foundation see the smallest patients on Oct. 16, 2018, at temporary clinic set up in Palu, Indonesia, to treat people displaced by last month’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. (Photo courtesy of Bumi Sehat Foundation)

In addition to the bringing more than 600 newborns into the world each year, the midwives of Bumi Sehat are often first responders after disasters occur in Indonesia. After Indonesia’s succession of devastating earthquakes in 2018, the team care for mothers and babies outside of hospital walls in the devastated communities of Palu and Lombok.

Syria

A newborn is cared for by staff at a Syrian American Medical Society facility in Idlib, Syria. (Photo courtesy of SAMS)

In a country where facility-based births are becoming less common due to internal conflict, the Syrian American Medical Society operates midwifery schools that offer the resources to perform safe births virtually anywhere.

Haiti

A midwife with Midwives for Haiti checks on a newborn. (Photo courtesy of Midwives for Haiti)

Haiti has the highest rates of maternal mortality in the Western Hemisphere, but groups like Midwives for Haiti are working to ensure that the country has a trained workforce of skilled birth attendants to oversee deliveries in the healthcare facility setting.

Bangladesh

A HOPE Hospital midwife treats a patients in HOPE’s Reproductive Health Center. Direct Relief is coordinating with HOPE Hospital in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to establish field hospitals throughout settlements of Rohingya refugees. (Photo by Josh Estey for Hope for Bangladesh/Every Mother Counts)

Medical care for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh is extremely limited, with few places for women and children to receive medical treatment. That’s why Hope Foundation Hospital for Women and Children of Bangladesh is training local midwives to serve as the epicenter of maternal health in underserved communities.

Somaliland

Midwives with Edna Adan Maternity Hospital conduct patient intake inside a school converted into a temporary clinic in rural Somaliland. (Photo courtesy of Edna Adan)

With a mission to ensure mothers have access to a skilled birth attendant, Edna Adan University Hospital is working to train and dispatch 1,000 midwives throughout Somaliland.

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