1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley

by Rebuilding Alliance
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley
1st Palestinian Birth+Prenatal Ctrs, Jordan Valley

Your donations helped equip a birthing center for Palestinian mothers in the West Bank's Jordan Valley, Area C. The Birthing Center is still serving Jordan Valley women today, mostly as a prenatal clinic located inside an urgent care center in the town of Tal Al Beida and all the northern Jordan Valley benefits.  This project was necessary because these mothers often have to travel through stressful and unpredictable checkpoints to give birth. The training you provided to open the Birthing Center allows them to have care closer to home. 

We're proud to have worked with you on this wonderful project. Rebuilding Alliance's part was to provide the training with the equipment funded by a Rotary International matching grant. The doctors on our training team came from Santiago Chile (home to a wonderful Palestinian community). A huge thank you to all the Rotary Clubs who made our project possible in addition to all our wonderful donors!

This project will now officially come to a close. If you would like to continue supporting families in the northern Jordan Valley, please give to Al Aqaba Kindergarten: Haj Sami's Dreams Made Realwhich serves children in Al Aqaba and the surrounding villages. You can also give to Movement to Save Palestinian Communities, to support our advocacy to keep the school standing for babies born in that area.

Thank you so much for your generosity.  You made great things happen. 

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Diana and Palestinian mothers with families
Diana and Palestinian mothers with families

filming in the Holyland from September 14 - 27

 

 

Diana Paul Bort, the founder of LoveDelivers.org, and her assistant, Clara, visited our OB-GYN clinic in Ein Al Beida, and stayed in Al Aqaba, and also visited midwives in Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv because they are exploring the possibility of doing a film about birthing in Palestine and Israel. Fascinated by natural childbirth, and sees a real potential for bringing volunteers and staff to Palestine to help make the Ein Al Beid OB-GYN clinic into the Birthing Center we all envisioned when we began this project.

 

This is what Diana said about her visit;

“Rebuilding Alliance did a miraculous job to organize the birth center in this area where some of the “poorest of the poor” live. They sponsored the Chilean doctors and asked seven Rotary Clubs in California along with one in Israel and one in Palestine to fund the purchase of ultrasound and heart monitoring equipment.”

What’s happening with the birthing center now:

“Once a week two obstetricians meet about 30 pregnant women for prenatal visits at the clinic.” The doctor on duty said, “what the clinic needs is 6 midwives to care for the women and babies 24/7.”

What she learned about natural childbirth in Palestine is that, “Arab women do not know about their bodies. What they most need is knowledge about birth so they won’t be afraid.” “There used to be about a dozen birth centers in Palestine but they were closed. Now there are none. Aisha was right, a laboring woman’s only option is to go to the hospital. This could mean navigating military checkpoints and driving through military training areas in route to giving birth.”

women's lunch
women's lunch
birthing center
birthing center
Diana and associate
Diana and associate
Emergency room doctors
Emergency room doctors
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6
7
7
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Salon Plus beauty salon
Salon Plus beauty salon
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Diana Paul filming
Diana Paul filming

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your support for this wonderful project through the years. I'd like to take a chance to briefly introduce myself. I am the most recent addition to the remarkable group that made the OB/GYN clinic a possibility and, as an intern at Rebuilding Alliance, am very excited and enthusiastic about moving our wonderful project forward. 

As you may remember, in 2015, Rebuilding Alliance, working alongside a Rotary Club initiative, was successful in establishing an OB/GYN clinic in Ein al Beida. Rotary provided the birthing equipment while Rebuilding Alliance provided the training. Women throughout the region now have much more access to prenatal and postnatal care, effectively reducing their risk of illness or infection. Unfortunately, they are still unable to operate as a 24/7 birthing center because the clinic remains understaffed.

While the OB/GYN clinic was not originally what we had in mind, we cannot deny its impact and importance within the community and it has long been everyone's hope to invite care-givers as speakers to provide insight to families and local care-givers as well.  

We also recently learned more about a group called Midwives for Peace. They are a grassroots organization comprised of both Palestinian and Israeli midwives who work together, despite borders, to ensure that all women can have a safe and happy childbirth. This goal is identical to the one we created when establishing our clinic.

To move this project to its next phase, a wonderful filmmaker, Diana Paul is planning on visiting our clinic, other nearby women's health centers and meeting with nearby organizations, such as Midwives for Peace in order to feature them in a film. This September, she and her intern, Clara, will be visiting together and piece the narrative together. No one is exactly quite sure what story will end up being told, but we know the film will be wonderful!

Diana is a birthing activist and creates films about women’s unique experiences with natural births. Her motto is, “Peace on Earth, begins at Birth.” Her work aims to convey the importance of natural birth and its profound effect on the mother. She hopes that her work can bring women together and widen the discussion about birth, something she emphasizes is a human rights issue.

When asked about her desire to document birth and the birthing aspect of women's health on film Diana said,

“How we come into the world is incredibly important to our sense of self, our health, our relationships, and our legacies.”

In Area C, where women are unable to decide whether or not they want a natural birth due to the inconsistent nature of the checkpoints, Diana’s work is very important. They are hoping to raise $3000 and will be staying in al Aqaba, a town that emphasizes welcoming and acceptance. We are confident that Diana will be able to convey al Aqaba's theme of welcoming in her film.

We are greatly looking forward to her presence and we hope you are too! Thank you again for all of your support, none of this would be possible without you.


Sincerely,

Amelia

 

P.S.

Mark your calendars for July 12th! Global Giving is hosting a matching grant that matches each donation by 50%! As far as we know, this matching grant will only last 20 minutes. Please set your alarms for 6 A.M. PST, 7 A.M. MST, 9 A.M. CST, 10 A.M. EST!

Filmmaker Diana's Work
Filmmaker Diana's Work
Filmmaker Diana's work
Filmmaker Diana's work

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Dear Friends;

We have good news and bad news. First, the good news:

Our project has successfully provided the new emergency clinic in Ein al Beida Village with equipment and training to establish the prenatal and postnatal wing of that new building. Our project means that now, pre and postnatal care is being provided, reducing risk of illness and infection among women and children throughout the region. 

The village of Ein al Beida is the northernmost Palestinian village, located within the northeast region of the West Bank, Palestine. Our Rotary project sought to establish the first prenatal clinic and birthing center in the area.   Our goal was to benefit the community by making obstetrical and neonatal medical care accessible to the over 50,000 Palestinians in the area.  Please note: women of all faiths are welcome.

Now for the bad news:  Our clinic still needs staff to so that it can remain open 24 hrs a day and become a birthing center.   The Palestinian Ministry of Health was not able to provide the twenty-four hour staffing required due to Israel’s freezing of Palestinian tax revenue when the Palestinians joined the International Criminal Court. Due to this shortage of funding and a downturn in the economy overall, medical staff are affected on all levels.  Currently, staff are not paid for months at a time and the Palestinian Ministry of Health is rarely able to hire new medical staff, especially staff that is needed for extended hours.  I am attaching a link about this problem.  

Although we were not able to realize our goal of creating a birthing center, we have created a valuable and viable OB/GYN clinic for the town and the surrounding area.  Nurses staff the clinic daily and doctors come once a week to see patients. 

Three months after installation of the OB/GYN equipment and training of doctors, an Arabic-speaking researcher interviewed three staff members and three patients from the OB/GYN clinic. We were pleased with the results (see the attachment). The prenatal clinic serves an average of 50 patients per week.  When a staff member was asked “Which day do you have the least number of patients?” he responded by saying “each day is full.” The staff provide patients with regular pre and postnatal check-ups, vaccinations, lab tests, family planning, consultation, gynecological care, medication, and care for any illnesses or concerns that women come across at any point during or after their pregnancies. Aside from being able to carry out births, both staff and patients reported being satisfied with the equipment and care at the prenatal clinic.

The patients have benefited by being able to get good, routine OB/GYN care close to home.  This is quite significant.   Ein Al Beida and the neighboring villages of Bardala, Cardala and the Bedouin community of Al Maleh are very near or even within the Israeli Army’s live-fire military training area.   The road to the nearest hospital in Tubas goes through the military training area.  All must pass through an Israeli military checkpoint.   The next nearest hospital is in Jenin and there are checkpoints along the way as well.  Crossing the checkpoint can be very stressful: on a good day one can cross the checkpoint without much wait but one cannot predict when the checkpoint will be slow or when it may close entirely.   In the fall of 2015 continuing through 2016, the violence at checkpoints has increased with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reporting incidents of extrajudicial killing even as the Israeli Army reports threats and attacks.   What this means for expectant mothers is that they tend to schedule their births to be performed by cesarean section at the hospital so that they begin their journey before labor starts and are certain to arrive in enough time.   The existence of our Rotary-sponsored OB/GYN clinic in Ein Al Beida means that women need not cross the checkpoints for prenatal and neonatal care – and that is a big relief.

Long term, the project opens doors and it inspires peace.  Thank you again for your support. 

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First Sonogram of healthy baby Mohamed
First Sonogram of healthy baby Mohamed

Dear Friend,

I am proud to tell you that after nearly seven years of project development, we opened the Birthing Center in the Palestinian town of Ein Al Beida on Thursday, March 19th!  

My Rotary Club of Woodside / Portola Valley was one of seven Rotary Clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area who joined the Rotary Club of Nazareth and the Rotary Club of Ramallah to purchase and send 6 pallets of equipment including ultrasound, heart monitors and infant warmers.  Assist International coordinated the equipment selection and testing — as well as the training program that was funded by your contribution as a donor.  It is Rebuilding Alliance who hosted the three doctors who are also professors at the Santiago University Hospital in Chile who joined us as trainers: Dr. Mauro Parra, Dr. Hugo Salinas, and Dr. Nedeska Morales!

“I got the chance to join Dr. Nedeska Morales as her interpreter when the Palestinian women doctors were learning to use the ultrasound machine,” said Ayat Omran, Communications and Outreach Officer for Rebuilding Alliance. “A pregnant woman came for check up. It was touching and emotional to witness this process for the first time in my life and see the baby inside. It brought tears to my eyes watching his face, his little feet and his heart jumping. It was really jumping up and down and that was unbelievable. This baby will come soon into life, probably at this new center!” 

Everything gracefully fell into place:

  • The equipment arrives safely the day before our team got there. The equipment was trucked from the Peugeot warehouse where a Ramallah Rotarian had carefully stored it, over to the Jordan Valley to Ein Al Beida’s emergency clinic.

  • As soon as Jim Stunkel and Jason Onarecker from Assist International arrived from the Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, we met up with the doctors in Jerusalem then headed to Al Aqaba, stopping for dinner at Darna, a famous restaurant in Ramallah. We reached Al Aqaba’s Guesthouse long after dark.

  • We all helped Jim and Jason in opening boxes and putting equipment together.   Jason, now in medical school, has his degree in engineering with lots of experience in medical equipment maintenance and trouble-shooting. The Doctors from Chile, pitched in, as did the Al Beida Clinic’s staff.  

  • Most of the equipment worked, right out of the box!   The doctors tested the heart and blood pressure monitors out on one another – but there's only one way to test the ultrasound.

  • Soon, the OB/GYN team arrived for training on all the machines, especially with the ultrasound machines.   Two of the three doctors were born in Russia, marrying Palestinians.   Now we were the Palestinian/American/Chilean/Russian team!

  • When a young mother joined us to see the first sonogram on the new Utrasound, the women doctors stayed in the examination room with her, and so did Dr. Mauro. Dr. Mauro and Dr. Nedeska provided the training as Ayat translated … it almost worked perfectly.

  • Word came that Dr. Assad Rimlawi , deputy Minister of Health, was on his way — so exciting. The once empty rooms in the Japanese-funded emergency center were now filled with birthing center equipment: heart monitors, ultrasound, bassinet and infant warmer, suction — and Jim Stunkel proudly introduce each piece of equipment to the minister and staff.

  • The people of Ein Al Beida hosted a full luncheon of musakhan, the wonderful chicken with sumac and sauteed onions served on bread baked round in a Taboun oven, so delicious.

  • We spent the afternoon assembling the equipment at the Al Haj Clinic in Al Aqaba where the Ministry of Health is welcoming visiting doctors, nurses, midwives, and yoga teachers to offer classes to new parents.

  • About that gap in the programming of the ultrasound machines, Jason and the Assist International team back in California scrambled to find the answer – by next morning, both ultrasound machines were working correctly, now measuring key dimensions to calculate the gestation age of the growing fetus.

  • On Thursday night, Dr. Mauro joined Mayor Haj Sami and both the Assist International and Rebuilding Alliance teams for tea at Othman Abu Hosni’s house — one of Rebuilding to Remain homes in Al Aqaba.  

  • That night, the President Marwan Totah and Internatioal Service Chair Wijdan of the Rotary Club of Ramallah drove all the way to Al Aqaba to present plaques for each clinic to Dr. Jameel Daragmeh, Deputy Ministry of Health for the Tubas Governorate. Dr. Jameel presented each member of the team with a special plaque of thanks from the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

  • The next day, we traveled to Nazareth in Israel where we met with Nazareth Rotary Club President Alber Zaher and our long-time project mentor Rotary Past District Governor Yusef Srouji. Abu Yusef is the 2014 winner of the Service Above Self award, Rotary International’s highest honor!

  • And what a night we spent in Nazareth, walking all the way down the hills from the scenic St. Margaret’s Guesthouse to explore that wonderful town, then walking all the way back up again!

  • On Saturday, our whole team continued to explore the historical and religious, visiting the Annunciation cathedral and the ancient synagogue where Jesus spoke, there in Nazareth as well as the White Mosque there too. Then on to the Dead Sea and Jericho, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. We even took the cable car up to the Mount of Temptations!

  • We brought the doctors back to Bethlehem where their hosts, Bethlehem 2000 – Chile, would help with their journey forward.   Dr. Hugo and Dr. Nedeska headed off to Gaza while Dr. Mauro returned home. Jason returned home to Oaklahoma that next day too while Jim, Kelly and I stayed on to visit with the Ramallah Rotary Club at their Wednesday meeting.

Next week, April 6-16th, Kelly, Ayat, Niveen and I will welcome the Rotarians from the San Francisco Bay Area as they come on tour to see the Birthing Center and prenatal clinic, along with the wonders of this Holy Land.  Generous donor, if you would like to join us for the upcoming Birthing Center Tour, please send me email at Contact@RebuildingAlliance.org

Thank you again for your support and patience. Great to see this project happen at long last!  We could not have done this without you!

Sincerely,

Meeting our Professor Doctors from Chile
Meeting our Professor Doctors from Chile
Six pallets delivered by Rotary Club of Ramallah
Six pallets delivered by Rotary Club of Ramallah
Beautiful Moms at new Birthing Center Ein Al Beida
Beautiful Moms at new Birthing Center Ein Al Beida
Dep. Minister of Health came to see & welcome us!
Dep. Minister of Health came to see & welcome us!
View of the Palestinian town of Ein Al Beida
View of the Palestinian town of Ein Al Beida
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Organization Information

Rebuilding Alliance

Location: Redwood City, CA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @RebuildAll
Project Leader:
Donna Baranski-walker
Executive Director
San Mateo, CA United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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