The New Year is here! Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? It is great to do something that will restore your balance or improve yourself, but what about helping others? One of the things you can do to help others this New Year is to show your support for the healthcare of women and children through Cuso International.
The Cuso CAN Fund was created to give the opportunity to support Cuso International chief maternal and child health projects in Ethiopia, Benin, Tanzania, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
How Does Cuso Provide Help?
With the support Cuso International receives, its volunteers provide the following to the people of Ethiopia:
· Shares a variety of medical and non-medical skills to improve the quality of healthcare in facilities;
· Empowers women and men to make informed health decisions; and
· Encourages women to find care from trained health professionals.
How Can You Show Your Support?
One of the best ways you can show your support to Cuso International in 2018 is by becoming a monthly donor. Monthly donations are simple and convenient to give. They are also necessary to be able to give stable funding in order to provide long-term change. These funds give Cuso International the ability to put together projects that improve the lives and livelihoods of those in need, and also helps to sustain these projects for a longer period of time.
Another great aspect of giving monthly to Cuso International is that you are able to adjust the amount you give. You can increase it, decrease it, or cancel it completely at any time – no questions asked.
Your monthly gift early in the year is vital to their ability to plan successful programs. Your donation at the start of the year allows Cuso International to advise their partners how many volunteers they can expect to receive in the months ahead. The sooner Cuso International can secure volunteers, the sooner they will be able to do the following:
- Aid pregnant women who are at risk of delivering babies in unsafe conditions travelling for hours to find medical care in the searing heat;
- Help parents who struggle to feed and educate their children; and
- Assist unemployed youth seeking training and support to find stable jobs.
Canadian doctors and midwives are working together with their Ethiopian counterparts in order to give support to women and children, health workers, government health staff and civil society organizational staff.
Take a look at how Cuso International supports the healthcare staff at the Pawe Hospital in Ethiopia.
Cuso International’s Support in Action
The Canadian doctors and midwives that volunteer their time to help others with Cuso International encounter situations during their placements around the world they would not encounter in Canada on a frequent basis. Jennica Rawstron of British Columbia helps others with Cuso International as a midwife supervisor. While in Ethiopia, she worked alongside local midwives to assist women through difficult deliveries. She shared her story about one such delivery where the baby was breech.
“This baby was unresponsive at birth. It was a difficult delivery. We tried to resuscitate, but it was obvious the baby would die. It really had an impact on me because I’ve never had a stillbirth in Canada. Vaginal breech deliveries are not common in Canada because most women in that situation would have a scheduled C-section.”
A week later, Jennica was at the hospital assisting with the delivery of another breech baby. In this situation, when the baby was born, she resuscitated him, and the baby survived. Jennica said
“Ethiopian mothers do not have the opportunity for the same kind of health care that women in Canada have, so there are more of these high-risk births happening.”
In Canada, many mothers and babies are able to seek the care they need in hospitals or at home with the help of a midwife. In countries like Ethiopia, there are far fewer qualified health workers. This results in more cases of Ethiopian mothers and babies being at risk of dying from causes that are easily preventable with the basic health care and resources.
The Importance of Patient Care
Throughout her six-month placement in Ethiopia with Cuso International, Jennica realized that the Ethiopian midwives needed more training to deal with emergency situations such as babies being born in the breech position. In Canada, resuscitating a newborn is a required skill that midwives must learn and continue to update annually. Despite the frequency of these high-risk situations, Jennica was able to see that the Ethiopian midwives were not confident enough in their skills when these circumstances happened. Jennica shares her thoughts on the situation:
“Working [in] a low resource setting is more difficult. Even when things are normal, you always have to [be] prepared to resuscitate a newborn. I tried to discuss it and practice it with the students, and shared with them that even in Canada, we do this kind of training. I tried to teach them to practice more so that if it happens, they will be calm and able to do it.”
Compassion and respectful care is also essential when helping mothers and babies with their health care needs. Jennica took the time to teach the students and care providers while in Ethiopia about this important aspect. For instance, many mothers received little to no follow up care post-partum. Jennica reinforced how important skin-to-skin contact is to a newborn baby with the Ethiopian midwives, which they are taught but did not always put into practice after the birth of a child.
The Impact of Being a Volunteer with Cuso International
Becoming a volunteer was an opportunity Jennica rewarding. She recounted the following:
“I realized that working alongside the midwives was more beneficial than I had imagined. Through trust and relationship building with the local staff, I got the sense that new suggestions were better received. Role modelling also played a big part in any impact I could have because simply being a Canadian trained midwife meant a certain standard of care that was different from what I witnessed. I am extremely grateful to return to work in Canada and be a part of this health care system. Not only as a care provider but as a patient. We are very lucky.”
To aid mothers and children in Ethiopia, Cuso International is currently raising funds in order to send more skilled healthcare workers, like Jennica, to the east African country. The volunteers are tasked with working alongside Ethiopian midwives and other healthcare providers to help them improve their skills – and save more lives.
Whether it’s helping an impoverished single mother of three start her own business in Bolivia or saving the life of a newborn in Ethiopia, you can make a difference in the lives of people who need it the most by giving to Cuso International! The only way they can send more Canadian volunteers is by having you at their side. Now that you can see how Cuso International gives to others, please show your support by giving a monthly donation today.
Disclaimer: I was compensated by Cuso International to share this post. The views I shared are my own.