Help us extend essential care across Tanzania

by Kupona Foundation
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Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania

Dear Friend,

We often focus on the impact of maternal health on women, families and communities, and on the critical role mothers play as caregivers for children with disabilities. As the saying goes, though, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Today, we’re also sharing our gratitude for fathers like Papa Saidy, who prioritize their children’s health above all else.

When four-year-old Saidy began to have noticeable problems with his vision, his father became deeply concerned. Luckily, Papa Saidy and his son live in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the home base of our local partner, CCBRT. Papa Saidy knew of CCBRT’s reputation for high-quality, affordable eye services.

He decided to bring Saidy for a consultation at CCBRT, one of only three hospitals in Tanzania to offer specialized pediatric eye services. Soon, Saidy was fitted with corrective glasses. Papa Saidy could breathe a sigh of relief as Saidy was able to return to his normal activities and his performance in school improved.

For children like Saidy who aren’t able to access treatment for treatable disabilities including visual impairment, clubfoot and cleft, the consequences are significant and long-lasting - preventing them from attending school, playing with friends, and later, finding employment.

The actions of dedicated fathers like Papa Saidy are critical to creating happier, healthier futures for children born with disabilities.

Today, we’d like to say thank you to fathers everywhere, and particularly to the fathers who go above and beyond to care for and support their children with disabilities. As always, thank you for your continued support of our work connecting families throughout Tanzania with high-quality healthcare!

All the best,

Abbey Kocan

Executive Director, Kupona Foundation

P.S. Read more about the power of fathers in this blog post from CCBRT about Baba Enoch, who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer in seeking care for his son, who was born with clubfoot.

P.P.S. Read more about CCBRT’s work with fathers in this blog post from 2017.

Caption: Above, Papa Saidy holds his son as Saidy receives an eye consultation at CCBRT. Below, after his consultation, Saidy is fitted for refractive glasses to treat his low vision.

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Dear Friends,

Today we’re celebrating the sixth annual International Day to End Obstetric Fistula.

Obstetric fistula is a devastating childbirth injury caused by prolonged, obstructed labor without access to timely, high-quality medical care. The injury leaves women with chronic incontinence, leaking urine, feces or both due to a hole formed between the birth canal and bladder or rectum during childbirth. In 90% of cases, the baby doesn’t survive the traumatic delivery.

The condition and stigma surrounding it often cause women to be isolated or rejected by their families and communities. Women in disadvantaged communities live with the condition for years – or even decades – because they’re unaware that fistula can be treated, or unable to access treatment.

That was true for 82-year-old Msonde, who lived with fistula for 60 years after developing it during the delivery of her second child in 1958. It wasn’t until last year that she learned from her niece that she could receive free fistula treatment at our local partner CCBRT. In August, Msonde traveled to CCBRT and underwent surgery that successfully repaired her fistula.

"When I arrived at CCBRT, I could not believe it was possible, but I found many women undergoing fistula treatment," Msonde said after her surgery. “I wish my husband could still have been alive. We are old now, but he could have been able to see me walking freely.”

In Jovitha’s case, she developed fistula after being in labor for three days during the delivery of her fourth child. Tragically, her baby did not survive. Despite quickly learning that she had fistula, the trauma of the delivery, loss and injury deeply affected Jovitha’s mental health and self-esteem.

“My experience – it’s unexplainable,” Jovitha shared. “I hated myself for three months. I had urine flowing down my legs and was extremely embarrassed. But…thankfully I had that support that so many other women don’t feel from their families and communities.”

Fistula is treatable through surgery and rehabilitation. What’s more, it’s preventable – through access to high-quality maternal health services.

This International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, we’re asking for your help to eradicate fistula in Tanzania.

Share your support for the global movement to fight fistula by using the hashtag #EndFistula in your posts or stories on social media.

Join the movement. Make a donation in honor of a strong woman or mother in your life - helping us provide comprehensive treatment for women like Msonde and Jovitha and helping address the root cause of fistula through improved maternal and newborn healthcare.

Regardless of income or location, we believe that NO woman should live with obstetric fistula. We hope you’ll join us in making that dream a reality. Thank you!


Abbey Kocan

Executive Director, Kupona Foundation

P.S. Read Jovitha’s full story here, and learn more about Msonde’s journey here.

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Save the Date for International Day to #EndFistula
Save the Date for International Day to #EndFistula

Dear Friends,

This Thursday, May 23rd is International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. While as many as 3,000 Tanzanian women develop fistula every year, many in Tanzania have never heard of it; the condition is still surrounded by lack of awareness, confusion and stigma.

Asha, now 44, developed fistula during the birth of her second child in 1996, when she was 23.

Without a skilled medical attendant present, Asha’s second labor and delivery was long and painful. Afterwards, like many women living with fistula, Asha was unable to control her urine or feces.

It would be six years before Asha even learned the name of her condition, which continued worsening as she gave birth to four more children. Unable to afford fistula surgery at her district hospital with her income as a local farmer, 16 more years passed before Asha learned about our partner CCBRT’s free fistula services.

In February 2019, after 22 years too many, Asha underwent a successful fistula repair surgery at CCBRT.

Realizing she could finally access treatment was “the beginning of a new life chapter,” Asha said. Read Asha’s full story here.

Obstetric fistula is preventable with access to timely, high-quality maternal health services. No woman should live with fistula for 22 years, or even two months.

Tomorrow, on International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, we’re raising awareness about fistula and mobilizing support to eradicate fistula in Tanzania. Stay tuned to learn how you can help, and visit our websiteFacebook or Instagram for more stories from women affected by fistula and the health workers working tirelessly to prevent it.


The Kupona Foundation team

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Dear Friends,

As we shared in our last report, in honor of Mother’s Day and International Day to End Obstetric Fistula on May 23rd, this month we’re celebrating mothers and the healthcare workers who keep them and their newborns safe.

Today, we also want to celebrate you for partnering with us in our mission to empower children and adults living with disabilities through high-quality healthcare by sharing a recent patient story from our local partner CCBRT.

Nine-year-old Faith has cerebral palsy, or CP, a condition that limits a child’s development and mobility. She lives with her mother and grandparents in Dar es Salaam Region.  

When Faith’s grandmother noticed she wasn’t developing the way her own children had, Faith’s family took her to a large, government-run hospital close to their home – but the doctors there couldn’t identify what was affecting Faith’s development. Although CP is the most common physical disability among children worldwide, it remains widely misunderstood.*

Undeterred, Faith’s family remained determined to find a diagnosis. Acting on a neighbor’s advice, they found one at CCBRT. They also found a way forward.

After CCBRT’s specialists diagnosed Faith with CP, they enrolled her and her parents in physiotherapy sessions at CCBRT and a Parent-Carer Training (PCT) at a location much closer to their home. Through five days of training, the PCT helped Faith’s caregivers understand her disability. It taught them how to wash, play, feed and communicate with Faith to manage her condition and help her integrate into everyday life. The PCT also helped Faith’s family form a  support group with other families nearby, providing them with a supportive community going through similar situations and challenges.

Faith’s family’s experiences at CCBRT, the PCT and their local support group have enabled them to create a safe, healthy and loving environment for Faith. “Before the PCT, I was scared to even hold my baby,” Faith’s mother remembers. “I didn’t understand CP so I thought maybe I could cause her harm.”

But now, she continues, “We are so grateful for these trainings, which give us the confidence and courage to accept our children’s situation, take care of them, and educate others to prevent bias and discrimination. Thanks to the trainings, I understand her treatment - I am committed to her rehabilitation, and I know now that she can even go to school like other children.”

Faith’s story is a testament to the importance of supporting health workers to empower children with disabilities – as well as their caregivers - in Tanzania. Thank you for helping make this life-changing work possible.


Abbey Kocan

Executive Director, Kupona Foundation

*According to the World Health Organization

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Dear Friends,

Each year in Tanzania, 11,000 women die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth, and 3,000 more develop obstetric fistula, a debilitating birth injury. We can change this. Our greatest resource in doing so? Front line health workers.

Studies of Tanzania’s over-congested, under-resourced health facilities have blamed “personnel motivation” and staff’s “low productivity” for many of the failures of the country’s health system. In contrast, our collaborative Maternal Health Capacity Building (MHCB) program focuses on encouraging, empowering and enabling front line health workers.

Dr. Timothy is one of our expert emergency obstetric care trainers and clinical coaches. He spends at least three days a quarter at each of our 22 partner facilities, working alongside health worker to address skill gaps through coaching, mentoring and engaging health workers to identify problems and implement solutions.

In the past five years, the generosity of donors like you has enabled MHCB to train more than 5,000 maternal and newborn health workers, empowering them with the skills and confidence they need to save lives and prevent obstetric fistula. The result? A 40% reduction in maternal deaths and a stronger referral system that’s better equipped to provide timely emergency obstetric care in order to prevent new cases of fistula.

What’s more, health workers trained by MHCB have a heightened sense of ownership. As one manager put it: “If today, there were 10 maternal deaths, I know that it doesn’t have to be like that tomorrow. MHCB works hand-in-hand with us to identify problems and implement solutions.”

Your continued partnership has helped us save thousands of lives and prevent traumatic injuries like obstetric fistula. As you celebrate Mother’s Day, I invite you to also celebrate the healthcare providers in your life and the healthcare providers in Tanzania, who are working tirelessly to create a better, safer tomorrow for mothers and newborns. A gift of $50 provides the resources necessary for four safe deliveries. A gift of $100 trains two maternal health workers to save lives at birth.

Happy Mother’s Day, and thank you!


Dr. Brenda D’mello

OB/GYN, CCBRT MHCB Project Manager and Technical Advisor

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Organization Information

Kupona Foundation

Location: Saratoga Springs, NY - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @KuponaFdn
Project Leader:
Susana Oguntoye
Executive Director
Washington, DC - District of Columbia United States
$25,280 raised of $30,000 goal
283 donations
$4,720 to go
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