In this month’s edition of our continuing look at maternity charities, we meet the fine people at Maternity Worldwide.
Established after its founders resolved to do something about the high maternal mortality rates in developing countries, Maternity Worldwide helps women and girls gain access to the kind of high-quality health care mothers routinely receive in more developed countries.
Read on to find out what they do and how you can help…
Employees: One, and lots of very dedicated volunteers and trustees!
Mission statement: Every year across the world 287,000 women die in pregnancy and childbirth. That’s one mother dying every two minutes, 800 each day. Of these deaths, 99% of them occur in developing countries. Maternity Worldwide has a vision of a world in which all women and their babies are able to access safe and appropriate childbirth regardless of where they live.
Our mission is to work with communities and our partners to:
• identify and develop appropriate and effective ways to reduce maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity;
• facilitate communities to access quality skilled maternity care;
• support the provision of quality skilled care.
Tell us a bit about what Maternity Worldwide does: Maternity Worldwide saves lives in childbirth in sub-Saharan Africa. We work in areas where the need is greatest and where women are most at risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth. We save lives in childbirth by using an integrated maternal health programme that addresses the three delays women face when accessing healthcare:
• Providing communities with maternal health information;
• Facilitating income generation schemes to enable women to become financially independent;
• Improving access to health centres and hospitals;
• Training local midwives and doctors to provide safe births.
Give us a brief history of Maternity Worldwide: We were established in 2002 by a group of health professionals frustrated by the lack of maternal health facilities in developing countries. In that time MW has worked in 11 developing countries, beginning with a full maternal health programme in Ethiopia. The programme was so successful it is currently being replicated in Uganda and Malawi.
What has Maternity Worldwide been up to recently?: We have been getting ready for our Mother’s Day campaign. We sell Safe Birth Certificates for people to give to loved ones, which will sponsor the safe birth for a mother in Africa. The certificates cost just £15 and are personalised with a message for the recipient. To find out more, please visit our website.
We are also busy creating our fundraising packs for our Muffins for Midwives event in May to celebrate International Day of the Midwife. We are asking people to hold a tea party, coffee morning or cake sale anytime in May, and the money raised will go directly towards the training of midwives in Africa. Our latest student midwife, Roger, has just started his course in Malawi, which is funded by the money raised for Muffins for Midwives last year.
Any plans for the future? We are excited about launching our new maternal health programme in Uganda this year. We still need £18,000 to help set up a health clinic in a rural village just outside Hoima, which will facilitate antenatal classes, women’s groups and income generation programmes. We will be launching an appeal in the summer to help raise funds for this new programme, which will help women in rural communities access healthcare. Women who are identified as being at risk of a difficult labour will then be able to safely give birth at the main health centre in Hoima.
Did you know… It costs just £15 on average to provide a safe birth for a mother in Africa, just £80 a month pays for the training of a midwife.