Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania

by Mother and Child Hospital Foundation
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Perinatal education for 1400 mothers in Albania
Violeta in the prenatal class
Violeta in the prenatal class

Once again, we are very heartened to see the opportunities we have to teach Albanian mothers about their bodies and their babies.  We want to empower and encourage each mother who comes through the maternity hospital where we work. 

Our Precious Mothers

One particular mother, I will call her Violeta, stands out as we were able to serve in several different ways.  Violeta came from a village in Northern Albania to be cared for over two months during her difficult pregancy. She was in her early 40s and had three older children back at home. I met her multiple times as I was supervising the installation of the TV monitor in her room to bring the tele-ed materials we had prepared. Hers was one of the last rooms to be finished, and she could hardly wait! Later, we met her again in one of our prenatal classes with Anne.  Finally, after she delivered her baby, she asked for help in getting her newborn to latch. I was surprised she asked for help after all her experience, but I was happy we could be there for her.

Direct giving to moms

We continue to present to each mother who gives birth at the hospital high quality booklets on how to care for a newborn, the importance of breastfeeding, and an encouraging booklet on motherhood entitled "you are the best mother in the world".  Since January, we have distributed over 900 booklets to close to 400 mothers.  These booklets are well-received, and often open the door to a conversation about the mother's health and the opportunity to help with any breastfeeding issues that may come up in the first hours. 

Some of the mothers the maternity hospital serves are clearly in economic need.  For these mothers, we prepare a box of baby essentials that we deliver to their bedside.  In the last 3 months we were able to deliver boxes to 28 needy mothers.  Most of these mothers come from villages and are giving birth to their 4th or 5th child, but in some cases, we also notice a very young single mother who needs support.

Breastfeeding help

We encourage breastfeeding to each mother as the healthiest choice for most babies.  We try to involve the hospital medical staff to do their best to encourage this, despite the strong financial temptations to do otherwise from the formula companies. Right now, Anne meets all of the mothers who ask for help once a week. Very often, this is 5-10 sessions each time. 

Considering the cost of formula feeding comes close to the minimum wage for a month, we want to take full advantage of this critical window at the maternity hospital to give the mother a real choice as to how to feed her baby. This coming week we will add another laction consultant, Bethany, to come twice or three times a week.  We hope that in time, this level of care will become normalised at the hospital, but unitl then, we are grateful to help each individual in their journey. 

Teleeducation

The installation was completed of 13 monitors, along with carefully curated content aimed at helping mothers understand the practical aspects of care for themselves and their babies.  This means that any given day, around 20 mothers have access to the material. We are moving on to the other maternity hospital with this new mode of education for mothers.  We hope that the material will educate, spark questions, and help mothers to give the best care they can to their newborns.  

Classes in the hospital

This past month we added another trainer to help the mothers.  Beyond teaching mothers about hygeine during pregnancy, how to wash and dress their baby, the birth process, and breastfeeding, we also offered support for mothers who are caring for themselves and their newborns who are in the Intensive Care Unit.  These mothers, as well as the mothers who are experiencing difficutlties in their pregnancies were encouraged in the class with Ledi as to how to handle their fears and anxiety about the situation they were in. 

We are incredibly grateful for the way you read our updates and give to our projects.  Through your generosity, we can continue to be there for these new mothers and their babies and start to change the standard of care in Albania so that we can turn the distressing statistics on maternal health into a success story of health care change, starting at the maternity hopsital, and extending to the homes and communities where these mothers come from. 

Breastfeeding help from Anne
Breastfeeding help from Anne
A joyful mother welcoming her 5th child
A joyful mother welcoming her 5th child
screenshot from material on TV monitors
screenshot from material on TV monitors

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Donor Eva Keta visiting an orphaned baby she helps
Donor Eva Keta visiting an orphaned baby she helps

We have wonderful news of good work happening in ths past quarter. 

Prenatal Education

In the last quarter, prenatal classes have once again been launched at the main maternity hospital and in the community through the Mamicare service. In our classes and postings on social media and on our blog, we focus on preparing for natural birth, preparing for breastfeeding, caring for the newborn and the new mother after birth, and first aid for very young children.  We make an effort to treat themes that have really not been considered, such as post-natal depression.  

We are reaching mothers again with the best trainers and materials, as well as working hard on our presence in social media so we can put high quality materials before the many young mothers who spend time there. We reach 40-50 mothers each month in person and thousands more through our presence in social media. In 2022 we hope to reach thousands of mothers giving birth with materials tailored for them as they begin breastfeeding and caring for their newborn.  We truly believe that the hospital is a critical place to invest to insure a happy beginning for each baby born in Albania. 

Direct Giving for Needy Mothers.

We continue to put a box of baby essentials into the hands of each mother who cannot afford to buy these things, currently 2-3 boxes a week at one hospital, but we would like to cover the other hospital in town as well for a total of 250 boxes this year.  The mothers we help have varying stories of great difficulty, including having recently lost a spouse, struggling with a mental or physical disability, or being very young, unmarried, and unable to work. We know that these boxes do not solve all of their problems, but they do so much to bring dignity to each mother and new baby in the hospital context. 

In addition to a box of essentials, it is clear that in some cases the family needs help with additional medications or expenses as they care for a newborn who has to stay in the NICU.  We would love to have an emergency fund to help us generously give to these more unpredictable needs parents encounter.  We were able to match one generous donor this year to a baby whose mother passed away during childbirth and who was in the NICU so that she could follow up on any needs this family would have.  Cases like these need us to go the extra mile, and we are right there to connect you.

This past quarter, Albania has been host to thousands of refugees from Afghanistan, most of whom arrived with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.  As a foundation we looked into what we could to do to help.  We decided our greatest value was helping to purchase and distribute basic needs such a socks and underwear, sanitary pads, hair care items, and others.  In addition, we have had the privilege of taking boxes of baby essentials to 10 of the mothers who have given birth here in Albania. 

Our Vision for the Future

Our vision is that expectant and new mothers no longer need to feel alone.  The feedback we are getting from mothers who we have reached overwhelmingly shows us that mothers here feel alone, unprepared, and unheard even by the medical establishment. Our main channels to meet these moms are through home visits, messages on social media, and our classes. We need additional support to continue providing in-person prenatal classes at the maternity hospita and supporting our efforts to get the word out over social media that mothers have allies in caring for themselves and their babies.  

A special project we want to see realised in 2022

One project that we hope to realize in February is that of outfitting 10 rooms at the maternity hospital with screens where we will show critical information to support breastfeeding and proper care of both baby and mother in the first hours and days after birth. This project will be a pilot, that we hope to extend to every room in maternity wards around the country.  

Afghan friends welcoming their baby in Albania
Afghan friends welcoming their baby in Albania
Baby box of essentials
Baby box of essentials
Mother with baby box
Mother with baby box
Prenatal class at the hospital
Prenatal class at the hospital

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This dear mother just gave birth to her 4th child!
This dear mother just gave birth to her 4th child!

Prenatal classes will start soon despite the many changes and the restrictions of the pandemic.  Both of the main maternity hospitals will reintroduce in-person prenatal classes, continuing our long-term efforts to get new and expectant mothers timely information. We continue to identify and serve the most vulnerable mothers by distributing "Boxes of Joy". In addition, this past month we have been able to use our resources to help in the purchasing and preparation of welcome packages for Afghan refugee families who have just arrived.

We completed the outfitting of a room off the ward where mothers who have difficult pregnancies stay and look forward to resuming in-person prenatal classes.  We have created a clean and calm space where prenatal classes can be held, and other resources can be put into the hands of expecting mothers.  Together with one of the most experienced trainers at the main maternity hospital and an experienced midwife trainer at the other maternity hospital, we will begin to offer classes to mothers in both hospitals. 

Our project to bring multimedia prenatal material into the patient rooms continues to wait on funding to be fully realized.  We have partnered with an Italian non-profit who have made excellent materials available to us to dub into Albanian.  We plan to use the same materials in a slightly different form to educate expectant and new mothers through our social media channels.

This past quarter we have been able to distribute all but a handful of the “Boxes of Joy” we have made up, and we are ready to make more. Each box is filled with some of the first things a mother needs for her newborn. The small gift shop we operate as a social business at the main maternity hospital gets calls from nurses and midwives to link needy mothers to us for a box.   

We want to thank you for joining us to make these resources available to new mothers in Albania.

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please reach out!



Consider following us on:

Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/FondacionSpitalor

Instagram @fondacion_spitalor

A grateful mother and her baby
A grateful mother and her baby
The reason we do what we do!
The reason we do what we do!
Ready for prenatal classes!
Ready for prenatal classes!
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Box of Joy for needy mothers
Box of Joy for needy mothers

Prenatal classes continue despite many changes and the restrictions of the pandemic.  The main maternity hospital has reintroduced in-person prenatal classes, a new effort to get new and expectant mothers timely information via booklets and television programming, and we continue to identify and serve the most vulnerable mothers by distributing "Boxes of Joy". 

Due to vaccination of medical staff and a decrease in case numbers for COVID-19, in-person prenatal classes at the hospital will once again resume.  We are grateful to have been given the opportunity to outfit a room off the ward where mothers who have difficult pregnancies stay.  There, we have created a clean and calm space where prenatal classes can be held and other resources can be put into the hands of expecting mothers.  Together with one of the most experienced trainers at the hospital, we will begin to offer classes to mothers on that ward and to other expectant mothers as well. 

In addition, we have been asked to spearhead a new project to outfit patient rooms and waiting areas with TV monitors and to create educational material to be shown there.  Numerous studies show that television is an effective way to communicate important health messages. We are grateful for the sustaining giving of the GlobalGiving community that has allowed us to embark on this exciting project. We hope to see good success of this so that we can expand the pool of information there and online, and hopefully to the other maternity hospital as well.

A program we have continued over many years is that of “Boxes of Joy”, where we are able to help provide for the basic needs of the newborn. The small gift shop we operate as a social business at the hospital gets calls from nurses and midwives to link needy mothers to us for a box.  We have prepared 30 boxes ready to distribute, with an aim to help at least 2 families a week in this way.  We have helped a young father whose wife had passed away in childbirth to care for his newborn son and young daughter.  We also were able to come alongside mothers with very little support from family, or who came from vulnerable communities, or who struggled with physical or mental disabilities.  We are grateful to be able to help in this small way. 

 

We want to thank you for joining us to make these resources available to new mothers in Albania.

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please reach out!



Consider following us on:

Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/FondacionSpitalor

Instagram @fondacion_spitalor


Links:
The father who just lost his wife in childbirth
The father who just lost his wife in childbirth
A new mother from a vulnerable minority community
A new mother from a vulnerable minority community
A booklet we will distribute to each mother
A booklet we will distribute to each mother
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Prenatal Class
Prenatal Class

Our Foundation is profoundly grateful for all your support during this exceedingly difficult year. Thanks to your contribution, FSNF has been able to continue its work through projects focusing on pregnant women, new mothers, and their newborns. During these last 3 months of the year, we have continued the work with the production and publication online of Perinatal Classes on topics including:

  • Baby Blues and postpartum depression 
  • Language development of the child at different stages of development through the platform: Ask the Speech Therapist.

These videos and others have been published on our YouTube channel, enabling the material to be accessed by a wide audience, both now and into the future.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1UjyxLXV_b6zo3J74QBCYA/featured

FSNF has continued to work with the main Maternity Hospital through the social enterprise the MamiCare Center to come to the aid of all pregnant women so that they can have a safe and healthy start to motherhood. Valuable information is provided on everything that pregnant women need to know to expect in pregnancy, and for them to know how to care for the newborn and their own body.

During this period, Perinatal Classes have been made available to vulnerable women, especially focusing on the Roma and Egyptian communities who live in the neglected suburban areas of Tirana. The feedback from participants has been very positive about the pregnancy and parenting information presented, as well as for all the practical support provided through the provision of the “Boxes of Joy,” which aim to provide for the basic needs for newborns, including newborn clothes and diapers.

Through the influence of social networks and cooperation with other partner organizations, we have managed to support special cases in need in other cities of Albania. We single out the case of a 13-year-old who unfortunately has fallen prey to sexual abuse and at such a young age became the mother of a baby boy who was born in good health. Her family lives in very difficult socio- economic conditions. With divorced parents, she finds herself alone with her son in the face of a very difficult life. She is already sheltered near a church that is providing a safe environment and helping her to meet her basic needs. Our staff has come to her aid through the curriculum that provides information on motherhood and care for the newborn.  As she is so young, she needs a great deal of support through psycho-social counseling. Through one of the “Boxes of Joy”, we were able to help provide for the basic needs of the child. Although in a difficult situation and with very little to depend on, this new mother has expressed gratitude for the support given. 

We want to thank you for joining us to make these resources available to new mothers in Albania.

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please reach out!

We are grateful for your support!

Consider following us on:

Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/FondacionSpitalor

Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/mamicarealbania

Instagram @fondacion_spitalor

Instagram @mamicarealbania

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Organization Information

Mother and Child Hospital Foundation

Location: Tirane - Albania
Website:
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Project Leader:
Elizabeth Grezda
Tirane, Albania
$11,191 raised of $20,000 goal
 
126 donations
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