Apr 20, 2017

You can improve maternal health in Cambodia

Support single women during their crisis pregnancy
Support single women during their crisis pregnancy

Dear Supporter,

April is World Health Month.

Cambodia has the highest infant and under-five mortality rates in the Indochina region, at 97 and 141 per 1,000 live births, respectively. Vaccine-preventable diseases, diarrhoea, and respiratory infections are among the leading causes of childhood death. 

The Kingdom also has one of the highest maternal mortality rates, despite UN goals set up for the end of 2015, numbers have remained high. 

A maternal death is any death that occurs during pregnancy, childbirth, or within two months after giving birth or terminating a pregnancy. Maternity-related complications are one of the leading causes of death for Cambodian women ages 15 to 49.
The vast majority of these deaths could have been prevented through good quality care during pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period.

“Even when mothers can access healthcare, the overall quality of care is deficient, magnifying the challenges women face in overcoming potential health problems during and after birth,” UNICEF said in a recent report.

We think that these statistics are not a fatality and we provide our service users with the best care available.
Samey's Story
Samey came to us late in her pregnancy. She is a young woman, with beautiful dark eyes, that reflected a life that was not always kind to her. Her baby bump was barely showing, but she was already in her last trimester when we met her. She had the usual aches and pains but the check-up and ultrasound showed nothing uncommon. 
When she started going into labour, her sister took her to the hospital and stayed with her. Mother's Heart social worker, Somphors, and our midwife, Sreytouch, checked on her regularly. They made sure both nurses and doctors looked after her well. Hospitals are overcrowded and sometimes, their staff can be overwhelmed and forget to check on their patient. 
Her delivery was long and she struggled through it. Our staff kept regular contact with her sister as she was getting weaker, losing the strength to keep pushing. Her eyes looked tired, the sweat on her forehead was making her hair wet. Her pillow was damp. Her eyes were starting to look hazy. Monitors showed that both mother and baby were in distress. 
The doctors decided to perform an emergency C-section. Samey lost a lot of blood and needed multiple blood transfusions. After surgery, she lost consciousness. We didn't know if her baby was going to meet his mother.
Will he know the warmth of his mum's arms? Will he grow up in his own family? What would happen to that newborn child?

She finally regained consciousness after three painfully long days. Then, she was in and out of hospital still not recovering. After multiple blood tests, doctors discovered that she contracted a rare heart condition that could only be diagnosed during or after delivery. She spent the next few weeks recovering. 
Mother's Heart helped with all her medical expenses and assisted her with food during her hospital stay, hospitals don't cater for their patients in Cambodia. She will probably never fully recover her strength, her heart functioning at 30%, but she knows that our doors remain open should she need advice, support and love. 
Donations
Donations
Our budget
Our budget
Clients' background
Clients' background
Statistics about our clients
Statistics about our clients

Links:

Jan 20, 2017

Diving into the Age of Reason

Comfort
Comfort

Mother’s Heart has been operating for 6 years, soon to be 7. 

We first started with a small group of dedicated people led by Katrina Gliddon, with the vision that no women should face a crisis pregnancy alone. Katrina, Nara and Somphors believed we could make Cambodia better by helping single women shunned from their community. They accompanied them on the way to motherhood, and showed them that despite adversity, they were in control of their lives.

The following years, our staff grew in numbers, and we are now 22 working full-time to improve the lives of single women. We are still the only crisis pregnancy center that councils women about their 3 choices: parenting, kinship care and termination (referal to Mary Stopes). 

We provide Pregnancy Support to strengthen single pregnant women’s access to all the services relevant to become a parent, among which: medical care, family reconciliation, maternal education, day care, job placement.

Katrina Gliddon has had to go back to Australia with her family. She is still involved in Mother’s Heart as a board member and is fundraising as our Founder in Australia. 

Mother’s Heart now has a Senior Management Team (SMT), composed of:

•Emily Scott, Country Director 

•Nara Chear, Finance Manager

•Somphors Seong, Senior Social Worker

•Charlotte Buckley, Operations Manager

•Rebecca Tjoa, Communications and Fundraising Manager

This allows Mother’s Heart to have a collegial structure that is prone to open dialogue. Together as a SMT, we are building a strong strategy for our future.

Each member of our staff follows the lead of our founder by being passionate about our vision and dedicated to our mission. 

As a supporter of our cause, you must have been inspired by Katrina, her vision for Cambodian women and children and her strong leadership. We vow to remain true to her founding principles. 

Our focus is on our service users, with a goal to reach maturity by servicing more women, supporting them with Honesty, Ethics, Authenticity, Respect and mutual Trust. This will remain the HEART of our mission for years to come, and we look forward to having your support in our endeavors.

Mother's Heart Senior Management Team

 

 

 

 

Care
Care
Counseling
Counseling
Love
Love
Oct 24, 2016

Fail Forward: Safe Staff

Admitting failure is scary because we fear judgment and blame. But mistakes are something we should embrace as they force us to see what we have done wrong and positive changes that need to be made.  

Safe staff.

Safe staff are vital for programs working with vulnerable populations. So Mother’s Heart takes strict precautions when we hire new staff (professional references and police checks), but these precautions are not guarantees.

We made the dangerous mistake of hiring someone who was unsafe.

At first this staff member seemed like an asset to the team. He came with a good reference and was willing to learn.

But soon the warning signs came.  He fell asleep during work ours, had very poor hygiene coming to work with dirty clothes and without bathing, constantly pawned his phone, went to coworkers houses to borrow money, and spoke gruffly to clients.  He also delayed in getting a background check – a requirement for all staff – saying he had put his ID card as guaranty at the bank.

Management met with him about his behavior and even had to draft a written warning.

One Monday he just didn’t show up to work. He didn’t show up the next day either.  Worried about him, our social worker went to find his home to see if he was ok.

He was a crystal meth abuser, had gone on a binge over the weekend, and was still coming down from the high. 

This story could have been very different and the alternate endings make us feel sick.

But that sick feeling is good if channeled correctly. We channeled that fear of what could have happened from our mistake into learning. We are as convinced as ever that our clients need to be safe and we will do what it takes to ensure they are.

Now, before we hire new staff we have a list of requirements: 1) Two references (one professional and one personal) 2) A background check 3) A character reference from the village chief 4) prospective staff must be willing for us to go make personal inquiries about them in the communities. It’s a lot. But it’s necessary.

And the staff member with the addiction? Our social workers told his family about a rehab facility and he is not getting the help he needs.

We hope others can learn from this too.  Do what it takes to know who you are hiring, especially for those working directly with clients. We’re relieved nothing truly terrible happened and have put systems in place to make sure it never does.

 
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