New babies now bring joy in Darfur
There is no healthcare in the villages of Darfur. Young girls fear childbirth more than anything else. Childbirth is risky wherever you live but when you live days away from the nearest, often primitive, hospital then it becomes a nightmare, both for you and for your unborn baby. Added to this, the dangers of FGM (female genital mutilation) which can cause obstructed labour with inevitable dangers both to mother and child, and you can begin to understand why the support that you have given to Kids for Kids to help us train midwives so that health care is available close by is saving so many lives.
It costs $5,184 to train a village midwife, but we share the costs with the State Ministry of Health, who then pay a small incentive to each qualified midwife. Every cent we can put towards this fund helps save lives. We train two midwives in each village so they can support each other. Founder Patricia Parker MBE says "Mothers asked our help to provide health care in their villages right from the start. It is so difficult prioritising the greatest need when life in Darfur is so basic and hard, but to me, the birth of a child, the start of life, is where our help too should start. What was tragic was to find that so many mothers died from preventable complications, leaving little ones are orphans."
Heroes Return - Last year, thanks to you, we trained 37 midwives. When they returned home they were welcomed as heroes. They arrived on their new fast crossbred donkeys, with a new uniform and a medical kit kept in a tin trunk to help keep it sterile. Their most prized possession however is their new pair of leather sandals! Each girl had a Certificate to show that she was fully qualified, not only to work in a village where there is no healthcare whatsoever, so the simplest problem can become a catastrophy, but to register births. This is important for a child's whole life, from getting into the right class at school, to registering with the Government, otherwise you could be listed as a non person.
A survey we carried out on just 17 of our midwives over the past year showed they delivered a staggering 3,598 heathy babies. Nineteen were pairs of twins! Only one mother died from complications from diabetes. This compared with the shocking expectation of every young mother that she had a 50/50 chance of surviving childbirth. Our midwives advised on antenatal care and made 220 home visits on their donkeys - there is no other transport. They advised on the dangers of Aids and FGM. They taught childcare and nutrition, teaching mothers how to breastfeed and how important it is. In Africa unfortunately big advertising campaigns have promoted powder milk and so called 'modern' practises. Only 12 mothers could not feed their babies and all these were able to give their little ones goat's milk - the nearest thing to mother's milk - from a Kids for Kids nanny goat.
Global Giving supporters save lives - "You have helped us transform mother/baby survival in my village" said Aisha, the Kids for Kids midwife in Goz Byna "Please tell people you are helping so many women here in Darfur. Not one baby died in my village last year."
The Wali, North Darfur, congratulates new midwives