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Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines

by Mercy In Action Vineyard, INC
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Birth Center Saves MotherBaby Lives in Philippines
Mothers appreciate home visits from the midwives
Mothers appreciate home visits from the midwives

In the rural mountains above Subic Bay, Philippines, pregnant women and new mothers used to go without maternity care. It was too far (and treacherous) to walk down the steep mountain trails, with several river fords, while pregnant or with a tiny newborn, to reach one of the clinics in the town below, and anyway, they were often turned away, for lack of money to pay for the visit to a medical professional

Mercy In Action has been changing that since 2010. That was the year we began outreach visits with our local midwives to the mountain people and Aeta tribes who dwell in the high and rural places off the grid. All of this outreach care is free of charge to the people, because it is an important part of our strategy for reducing maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity in rural, low-resource areas of our country.

During the time of outreach, we met a family, who delivered their last baby in our birth center. This family was the first to stay in our newly built Maternity Waiting homes on the land we bought at the trailhead leading up to the mountain villages. They later came to work for Mercy In Action, and we scholarshipped their eldest daughter to midwifery college. She is now earning her Bachelor degree while continuing to serve as an outreach midwife to the mountains.

Midwives bring vitamins and clothes for newborn
Midwives bring vitamins and clothes for newborn
Midwives help with breastfeeding
Midwives help with breastfeeding
Ambulance makes routine home visits with midwives
Ambulance makes routine home visits with midwives
Nerissa at Graduation - BSM in Midwifery
Nerissa at Graduation - BSM in Midwifery

Licensed Midwives in the Philippines were told a few years ago that according to new rules, every midwife in the country needed to go back to college to upgrade their current two-year Associate Degree in Midwifery into a four-year Bachelor of Science in Midwifery.

Mercy In Action stepped up to help our midwives we support to meet this challenging task. Because we believe in excellence in midwifery. Because we believe in every effort globally to make birth safer for women and babies. And because we believe in our midwives.

One of these midwives, Cecille, had graduated college, passed her board exams, and qualified for her original Midwifery license in 1991! A full 27 years later, she found herself back in school. But in keeping with the spirit of everyone who works at Mercy In Action, Cecille wanted to keep getting better, so she bravely accepted the challenge. On the day last month when she defended her final thesis, she wrote these words to me:
I graduated Midwifery last 1991..27 years ago! And yesterday I defended my thesis for the BSM. I am happy going back to school…I am enjoying it. Thank you so much to all the sponsors.

For Nerissa, who survived the terrible typhoon in 2013 that decimated her island, going back to college was just one more overwhelming challenge in the recovery process. But she took the step, knowing she was needed to serve her community, and graduated with honors two years later. Writing to me after she earned her Bachelor of Science in Midwifery, she said: "Finally the moment has arrived, I graduated and I got an award Proficient in Clinical Practice. I dedicate this to you for you are my inspiration. Thank you very much for everything."

Currently Mercy In Action is scholarshipping six Filipina midwives to earn their BSM degree. We are proud of each and every one of them, and the ones who have already graduated, as they willingly and cheerfully g through the hard work it takes to upgrade their education and become the very best midwives they can be! We are proud of them, and thankful for the sponsors who donate to Mercy In Action to help us make excellence in health care possible for all the families we serve with best-practice maternity care in the Philippines.

Cecille and classmates defended their thesis - BMS
Cecille and classmates defended their thesis - BMS
Mitch
Mitch's investiture for her Bachelor of Science

Links:

Christmas Outreach
Christmas Outreach

Merry Christmas from Mercy In Action! I recently watched a movie about how Charles Dickens came up with the ideas he wrote into his most famous book, "A Christmas Carol." What interested me the most was that at the end of the movie, it was stated that the year the book was published in London, giving to the poor went up exponentially. Since 1843, all over the world, we continue to find new and creative ways to bless the poor at Christmastime.

And so it is with Mercy In Action. Christmas is an opportunity to bless the less fortunate in our communities in the Philippines and remind us all of the true meaning of the season. Our midwives have been hiking to nearby villages and giving out bags of rice, vegetables, and canned goods to extremely poor families that we are caring for during pregnancy, as well as their neighbors.

But our gifts to the poor extends far beyond Christmas and the food that will be gone in a few days; by also giving free prenatal care to village women, we are insuring a healthier pregnancy and a better chance at survival for mother and baby when labor begins.

Our Mercy In Action birth centers are another place for a different kind of outreach. By offering a safe, clean, and friendly environment, with no cost to the patient, we are insuring that women and their families will feel safe to come when labor begins. They know and can trust that they will not be treated disrespectfully, or given a bill that will put them in debt for years. Our birth centers are a port in the storm, (or more appropriate to this Christmas message, a "room in the inn".

Christmas is indeed a time to remember the poor. For our donors and monthly sponsors, we want to say a big thank you for helping us help hundreds of mothers and babies this past year with quality maternity services. And with your help, we will continue to bless the ones that need us most all year long.

To quote Charles Dickens, "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another."

Thank you for lightening the burden for families in the Philippines.
The very happiest of holidays to you and yours,

Vicki, for the Mercy In Action team

Walking thru floods to bring gifts of food
Walking thru floods to bring gifts of food
Prenatal check-up are part of the outreach
Prenatal check-up are part of the outreach
Two babies born in Birth Center at Christmastime
Two babies born in Birth Center at Christmastime

Links:

Midwife Imelda making a Post Partum Home Visit
Midwife Imelda making a Post Partum Home Visit

One of Mercy In Action’s service projects is Postpartum Newborn Home Visits (PPNBHV) for new mothers and their babies living in poverty, provided free by Mercy In Action midwives. This is a service in addition to our Birth Centers' routine home visits for mothers who delivered in our facility. This service is for any newly delivered woman and newborn, especially the ones who deliver without the benefit of a skilled birth attendant to attend to them.

Some mothers we visit are living in urban poverty in inner-city urban slum housing.

Others are tribal women living in rural poverty in remote and accessible-only-by-hiking-in village huts.

In either case, a home visit by a Licensed Midwife is something out of the ordinary, and very special. When these mothers to receive a home visit, they are honored and pleased, but more important, the visit may help with the survive of this mother and baby, as we understand the health benefits of postpartum monitoring.

One of our visiting health workers reported that “The families were so happy and thankful, not shy of us anymore… they like the check-up.” Our Postpartum Newborn Home Visits are a success!

Thank you for supporting Mercy In Action and our work to improve the health of all childbearing families in the Philippines! Blessings and love from the Mercy Team

Meddie counsels on breastfeeding during home visit
Meddie counsels on breastfeeding during home visit
Mother and twins receive a health check-up at home
Mother and twins receive a health check-up at home
RoseAnn on way to home visit with Vicki and Rose
RoseAnn on way to home visit with Vicki and Rose

Links:

Founders and Directors of Mercy In Action
Founders and Directors of Mercy In Action

Rose Penwell and I just returned from a two-week whirlwind tour of all our sponsored birth centers and midwives in the Philippines, and what a joy it was to see so many wonderful things happening as babies continue to be born in safe, clean, well stocked and professionally run birth centers. Mercy In Action is making a difference in maternal and newborn survival, one good birth at a time! And you are a big part of that.

Now, looking ahead, we are excited to tell our supporters that two of our graduate students from the Mercy In Action College of Midwifery are heading to the Philippines to serve six months in our birth centers on Leyte and Mindoro islands.  They will be volunteering in the clinics and birth centers, learning from our Filipina midwives, and assisting with all the details and paperwork to get our newest birth center licensed and accredited. 

One of these students, Kluane, represents a first; born herself at the birth center I started in Fairbanks back in the 1980’s,   she is the first baby born there to finish a two-year clinical internship and become a midwife by training in the place where she was born. And Hannah, the other newly graduated student on this adventure,  moved to Alaska with Kluane to intern at Alaska Family Health & Birth Center, and together they represent the first graduates of the Mercy In Action College of Midwifery to graduate from the college I founded while doing their clinical requirements in the birth center I  founded.

Now both of these wonderful young midwives will be going to serve alongside the midwives of Mercy In Action in the Philippines, where their service will make a lasting difference to generations to come. 

Please consider making a special donation toward their trip, or if you find yourself in Alaska next week, please attend a fundraiser we are hosting for them on July 2 at 3 pm at Alaska Family Health & Birth Center.

Blessings and love from the Mercy In Action team!

 

 

 

Kluane attending a birth
Kluane attending a birth
Hannah Brown examining a newborn baby
Hannah Brown examining a newborn baby

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Mercy In Action Vineyard, INC

Location: Boise, ID - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Vicki Penwell
Boise, ID United States
$78,212 raised of $99,000 goal
 
1,031 donations
$20,788 to go
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