Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC

by Hope for Our Sisters, Inc.
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Fund Life Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC
Ultrasound Being Performed at The Wellness Clinic
Ultrasound Being Performed at The Wellness Clinic

Please be advised: this report contains content about physical and sexual violence, which may be triggering for some readers. 

Hello Friends and Followers of HFOS,

We hope each of you are approaching the coming holidays with joy in your hearts and some rest on your calendars. The team at Hope For Our Sisters Inc., in partnership with the team at The Wellness Clinic in Goma, DR Congo is pleased to bring you our latest impact report for our project to "Fund Life-Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC". We continue to be so thankful for the support of each of you in bringing this program to women who are trying to access high quality and often life-saving maternal care in Goma. This program prevents maternal health complications like fistula and obstructed labor, poor infant outcomes, and maternal and child deaths, by giving pregnant women a place to seek prenatal care and assisted deliveries without fear of being unable to pay. You are truly saving and changing lives with your investments.

Unfortunately, for the past several months, the city of Goma has been subject to heavy civil unrest and constant threat to the lives of its citizens. The M23 rebel group, which has been operational on and off for over a decade, has been advancing in the region with an agenda that is oppositional to peace and stability in a country that has struggled for many years to achieve those things. M23 rebels have been named as actors in mass events of violence that have led to the deaths of hundreds of men, women, and children, though news reports suggest they are denying many of the accusations. There are also widespread reports of sexual violence and rape. Refugees and displaced families continue to flood into Goma seeking safety. War-time inflation has made it hard to find food and meet other basic needs for all. 

The Wellness Clinic continues to operate to the best of its ability, despite the enormous risk to the lives of staff members. Life-saving care is needed to treat injuries, women's health care is needed for victims of sexual violence and rape, and the goings-on of every day life, such as pregnancies and deliveries, continue to need to be addressed in a safe manner, despite rising costs and loss of livelihoods. Between August and November of 2022, The Wellness Clinic provided 11 tubal ligations, 358 assisted vaginal deliveries, 167 cesarean deliveries, and 1,393 prenatal care consults. On top of all of this, the staff works hard to meet other desperate needs of community members with programs for microfinance loans, malnutrition among women and children, and vocational training for boys and young men to prevent them from joining an armed group. The Clinic is a beacon of hope and a safe place for many people who live in fear these days. 

So long as our partners can get information to us, we hope to continue to share these reports every four months. We hope the next communications will be about peace. As always, we welcome your feedback or suggestions. For more regular updates on The Wellness Clinic and all of our other programs, please visit our website and sign up for our Constant Contact updates 1-2 times per month, or follow us on Facebook. Thank you again for your incredible generosity and support of this cause and this amazing community and clinic.

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Bakara
Bakara

Greetings to all! The team at Hope For Our Sisters Inc., in partnership with the team at the Wellness Clinic in Goma, DR Congo is pleased to bring you our latest impact report for our project to "Fund Life-Saving Maternal Care for Women in DRC". As always, we are so thankful for the support of each of you in bringing this program to women who are trying to access high quality and often life-saving maternal care in Goma. This program prevents maternal health complications like fistula and obstructed labor, poor infant outcomes, and maternal and child deaths, by giving pregnant women a place to seek prenatal care and assisted deliveries without fear of being unable to pay. You are truly saving lives with your investments. 

Women like Baraka continue to benefit from the maternal health fund you have established and kept running with your generous investments. Bakara came to the clinic to deliver her baby, knowing it was a safe option for her and her child, though she was consumed with worries about how the stay would be and how she could afford to pay for the care she needed. Most hospitals require women to bring all of the supplies they need for their delivery or surgery, but Bakara received these for free through your amazing support. She expressed her gratitude many times over to the team and to all of the people who played a role in bringing her baby safely into the world - including you. 

From April through July, 369 other women like Bakara had assisted deliveries at the Wellness Clinic, many of them using funds from the maternal health fund to pay for all or part of their care. There were 1,307 prenatal care visits and 14 women elected to have tubal ligations. These are amazing numbers of people in a country with weak health infrastructure receiving high quality care and feeling empowered to make the best choices they can for themselves and their families.

We hope you are continuing to enjoy these reports every four months and, as always, we welcome your feedback or suggestions to Cara, one of our Board members, at cbrooks@hopeforoursisters.org. For more regular updates on all our programs, please visit our website and sign up for our Constant Contact updates 1-2 times per month, or follow us on Facebook! Thank you again for your incredible generosity and support of this cause and this amazing community and clinic.

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Hope For Our Sisters, Inc. (HFOS) is pleased to share our next update with all of the investors in our endeavor to help provide life-saving maternal care through the Maternal Health Fund at the Wellness Clinic in Goma, Democractic Republic of the Congo. 

Our partners at the Wellness Clinic have stayed busy in the first quarter of 2022. There were 150 cesarean births, 215 assisted vaginal births, 13 tubal ligations and 831 prenatal visits! The numbers of women seeking care at the clinic are incredible, and they continue to grow as word spreads that quality, safe care and health counseling is available in Goma. For families who cannot pay for their procedures, we continue to use your investments to help cover costs, directly assisting to mitigate maternal and neonatal injuries and deaths. You have saved lives with your generosity.

Though unrelated to the maternal health fund numbers, there is another exciting update for women and children in Goma: the development of a microfinance program through the clinic to which we have directed funding this year. Fifty women who are mothers to malnourished children fed through the clinic will be the recipients of $100 each in efforts to empower them to grow small businesses. The $5,000 we arranged to have sent will be distributed in increments throughout the year, and we cannot wait to learn more about the progress of this program. 

Please reach out to us at info@hopeforoursisters.org with any questions about this project or HFOS' work in general.  We also invite you to share our project page with your family and friends, and visit our Facebook page (Hope For Our Sisters, Inc.). The more awareness we can spread about the great need for attended births and maternal care in Goma, the more lives we can touch and change together

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The baby with one of the Wellness Clinic staff
The baby with one of the Wellness Clinic staff

Hope For Our Sisters, Inc. (HFOS) is pleased to share our twelfth update with all of the investors in our endeavor to help provide life-saving maternal care through the Maternal Health Fund at the Wellness Clinic in Goma, Democractic Republic of the Congo. Our partners at the Wellness Clinic report that our maternal funds helped to pay for 170 cesarean births between September and December of 2021! There were also 357 women who had vaginal deliveries with skilled attendants in this safe location. Additionally, 1,171 prenatal visits were conducted. For families who normally might not have the option to deliver their babies anywhere but at home, with only the help of relatives or friends, it is an incredible gift to have access to such a place. It is even more amazing that treatment is not only high quality, but also free of charge or partially paid for in the cases of families who cannot afford their care. You make this possible.  

In this particular report, we want to share updates about a few lives that were truly saved by the Wellness Clinic staff and due to your generosity in providing the funding that enabled that care. Our medical partner, Dr. Myron Glick, recorded a day in which 11 deliveries occurred in just 24 hours, eight vaginally and three surgically. A cesarean section was provided to a woman with a complete placenta previa (a condition in which the placenta covers the birth canal) whose baby had passed away in utero, and she was at risk for bleeding to death while trying to deliver the stillborn child. There was also a woman whose baby was in a suboptimal position for delivery and weighed 11 pounds at birth, which could have resulted in severe injury or death for both the mother and the baby if he had become stuck on the way out. There was also surgery performed in this period for two women whose pregnancies had implanted outside of the uterus (an ectopic pregnancy), a condition that can lead to hemorrhage and death if intervention does not occur. These lives were saved in a team effort, in which you played a critical role. 

Dr. Glick also described another day at the Clinic in the fall when he was present. A baby was born essentially unresponsive and resuscitation efforts were immediately initiated. The team kept at it for 20 long minutes. In even the most developed nations, this is a serious and grave situation. However, the newborn survived and while recovery was slow, he is doing well. If this mother had been afraid to seek care because of concerns over expense and had tried to deliver at home, which is common for women who are so very poor in places like DR Congo, the baby would almost certainly have died within minutes of birth. This is a life we can all celebrate together.

As you can see, this is a hardworking and dedicated team who is making a real difference in the lives of women and families living in their community. They are able to do so because of your support. We are so grateful to partner with both you and them.

Please reach out to us at info@hopeforoursisters.org with any questions about this project or HFOS' work in general.  We also invite you to share our project page with your family and friends, and visit our Facebook page (Hope For Our Sisters, Inc.). The more awareness we can spread about the great need for attended births and maternal care in Goma, the more lives we can touch and change together

The little warrior while recovering in the Clinic!
The little warrior while recovering in the Clinic!

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The Wellness Clinic (Goma, DRC)
The Wellness Clinic (Goma, DRC)

Hope For Our Sisters, Inc. (HFOS) is pleased to share our quarterly update with all of the investors in our endeavor to help provide life-saving maternal care through the Maternal Health Fund at the Wellness Clinic in Goma, Democractic Republic of the Congo. Our US-based partners have a trip to the clinic planned for October, and will provide us with more patient stories after that time. We look forward to sharing these with you! Their administrators reported that in the period from May through August 2021, 163 cesarean deliveries occured at the clinic, of which 29 women could not afford to pay anything at all. Your investments covered the cost for them, and for the 134 patients who could only pay in part. There were also 314 assisted vaginal deliveries, 15 tubal ligations (the women chose to have their "tubes tied" to stop future pregnancies), and 1,008 prenatal visits. That is 1,500 women who received much-needed quality care, and is nothing short of amazing.

Our partners have also kept us up-to-date throughout the summer on the increasingly dire coronavirus situation in the country, in Goma specifically. In July, our primary contact Dr. Myron Glick wrote: 

"COVID is hitting Goma very hard. By far the worst it has been since the pandemic started. The Wellness Clinic Manager was sick with COVID for two weeks and thankfully recovered, but she has a family member who is presently in the hospital with COVID. Several of the staff are sick presently. At the local district hospital, 6 of the doctors are hospitalized with COVID. The Manager shared that half of the families she knows in Goma have family members with COVID and people are dying frequently. The entire city is in mourning. The volcano eruption [May 2021] and the forced evacuation of over 400,000 people is most likely the catalyst for the current COVID crisis. 
 
Unfortunately, at this time, there are no vaccines available for the people in Goma. Probably less than 5% of the population has been vaccinated. In spite of these challenges, The Wellness Clinic stays open 24/7 and has been since COVID began. In June, they saw more than 2,300 patients and delivered more than 100 babies. Our hospital is full. We screen and test for COVID. Those who are critically sick with COVID we try to transfer to the local government hospital that has been designated just to treat COVID. Others we treat on site... The Wellness Clinic has been a critical and tangible source of hope during COVID."
In reponse to these communications, the GlobalGiving Disaster Response Team offered our partners at the Wellness Clinic a $15,000 COVID emergency relief grant. Dr. Glick cited that the money would be used for PPE (gloves, masks, gowns and face shields), to supplement the medication budget as it is getting short given the overwhelming need, to fund education about COVID in the community, to support staff members who are sick from COVID and face extra expenses as a result, and to purchase additional oxgen concentrators. We were also able to connect them with a generous donor from a charitable trust who purchased the clinic an ambulance at $35,000 to replace the minivan that they had been using for emergency transports. Thankful!

We are so deeply grateful for the investment from GlobalGiving, for the continued dedication of the staff at the Wellness Clinic, and for each of you who have kept this project to fund quality and timely maternal care running, even in the face of natural disasters and a global pandemic. You have saved lives with your generosity. 

Please reach out to us at info@hopeforoursisters.org with any questions about this project or HFOS' work in general.  We also invite you to share our project page with your family and friends, and visit our Facebook page (Hope For Our Sisters, Inc.). The more awareness we can spread about the great need for cesarean deliveries and maternal care in Goma, the more lives we can touch and change together.

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

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Organization Information

Hope for Our Sisters, Inc.

Location: Melrose, MA - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
Brooke Sulahian
Wakefield, MA United States
$28,281 raised of $40,000 goal
 
282 donations
$11,719 to go
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