?$180 US can save the lives of 70 mothers – vital equipment for a rural midwife

Back in 2013, the BBC documentary The Edge of Joy alerted me to the horrifying statistics regarding maternal mortality. It also introduced me to the life-wrap or NASG (Non-pneumatic Anti-shock Garment) that could grant women an additional 24 hours to get attention if they suffered from the unpredictable reality of postpartum haemorrhage.

I began fundraising while I was in on a break in Aotearoa New Zealand.

I contacted Meg Wirth at Maternova in the USA. The price seemed immensely affordable at $80 US for equipment can be used 70 times. That is the potential to save 70 women’s lives, 70 families get to keep their mothers at less than $2 per life. When you have access to information at potent and as affordable at that it’s easy to see every $2 as a life. The $80 was based on a bulk purchase of 100 suits and we had more to learn on the way as novices in the field, responding to a need. Meg helped us every step of the way, working through the minefield that lay ahead.

I contacted Dr. Isa, an experienced friend in maternal health care within Nigeria and we began our effort towards raising the funds to purchase 100 suits. Little did we know that we would be confounded and flummoxed by all sorts of obstacles: problems importing the equipment, a lawyer who took the money but didn’t manage to register our NGO, difficulty with raising the money for the bulk order, increasing prices and tariffs a false-start promise of a major partnership with an organisation that wanted a million suits and all the training, ,… o how we worked on those plans and then found that we were left with the original sum that came from the hands of ordinary citizens…people of empathy with a portion of their own to give have been the backbone of this project and all the others.

And so we have purchased all the suits that were available in the Nigeria. Less than a dozen.
One I keep as a demonstration model and I take it to the offices of NGOs and Health Commissioners and women’s groups and show them what could be done if we had the will, for this surely is the way to drastically reduce the appalling statistics.

The health care workers come seeking the equipment that they can use in their practice have a day’s training in our house, using the DVD, the handbook and prior knowledge.

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It is not the project we envisaged.

It is the project we can afford.

We can do this much.