Approximately one-third of a million women die each year from pregnancy-related conditions. Three-quarters of these deaths are considered avoidable.
Albania has one of the region’s highest levels of maternal mortality. As mothers learn the danger signs before and after they give birth, they will be empowered to seek help for themselves and their newborns.
In this summer issue of Happy Beginnings, we want to share with you the ways that we are responding to the needs of mothers and their babies at the maternity hospitals in Albania and how you can join us.
We have been eagerly awaiting the addition of Bethany to our team. Here she is teaching mothers at the maternity hospital about three specific topics of first aid for infants, CPR, choking, and managing a high temperature.
We are certain that these topics will some day save lives!
Bethany brings with her the skills of pediatric nursing, a depth of knowledge that few here have in breastfeeding, as well as skills in fundraising and design. We are so grateful to have her join our efforts at the foundation and in building our social business Mamicare in the community.
Teach, listen, and share the joy! These three actions describe what board member and volunteer midwife Anne Kretschmer does best. She educates, hears, and connects with new mothers – sharing their joys and calming their fears. Anne is one of the most recent additions to the Foundation Board and our most active member on the ground.
We wanted you to hear from her:
My name is Anne. I am a German Midwife and live since 5 years with my husband David and our 3 kids in Tirana.
Working together with the Mother and Child Hospital Foundation and MamiCare is a big pleasure and blessing for me. Its wonderful to have a team of Christian professionals to work together with and be able to reach all classes of woman through the public hospital, private visits, prenatal classes, and informational work on social media. Working together gives me the opportunity to empower and support woman in the special stage of pregnancy and after giving birth. Sharing Information but also helping practically with breastfeeding and all other kinds of midwife related issues is a strong need here in Albania and my desire. My hope is to reach as many mums as possible so they feel self-confident and empowered in that special time of life.
For the future I would love to see us investing in young midwifes to train them to help us reach more mums. MamiCare and the Mother and Child hospital Foundation create the perfect space for me to contribute my skills as a midwife.
We would love to see Anne involved in training up other midwives to offer the same standard of care all over Albania. Your giving to our projects lays the foundations for this to happen.
This past quarter we were able to find generous donors for an Injection Pump that delivers crucial medications and nutrition to the tiny babies in the NICU. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the numbers of preterm babies needing specialized care was up, but there were not enough pumps to go around.
We notified a friend of the Foundation, Dr. Gary Russell, who reached out to his community of faith to secure the needed injection pump. If you want to mobilize your community to give, we have another need for the NICU.
We plan to purchase a hospital grade breast pump for the NICU at the Queen Geraldina State Maternity Hospital. Our staff will train the doctors and nurses and provide educational resources to NICU moms.
We will also purchase a breastmilk refrigerator and breast pump supplies to make this initiative safe and sustainable.
Record temperatures have already hit many parts of Europe. When the state maternity hospital where we work asked us for as many air conditioning units as we could afford, we dug deep and responded.
Now a whole ward is cool and comfortable for moms who are experiencing difficult pregnancies. The staff members are so grateful to have a cool working environment as well.
One of the mothers we served came from neighboring Kosovo to give birth. She made a courageous and fateful decision to keep the newborn she was planning on leaving in Albania. Thanks to the generous gifts for the Happy Beginnings boxes, we are able to support her and other courageous new mothers.
Boxes of Joy is an ongoing project that helps us touch the lives of the most vulnerable mothers and babies in a very tangible way. With the generous partnership of Abi Bank, we have been able to secure boxes to meet the needs of mothers and their newborns at one maternity hospital this year
With your generous help, we have the capacity to double our impact and distribute at the other main maternity hospital in town.
Albania’s statistics show that it is on the top ten list for an imbalance in births of boys to girls. This indicates the prevalence of gender-elective abortion.
To combat the phenomenon, we will be partnering with business, international organizations, and the government to raise awareness that the girl child is to be treasured and protected.
As a theme, we have chosen #tjeterheremevajze, a twist on a folk song wishing “Next time, may you have a son!” We want Albanians to think about and start to wish “Next time, may you have a daughter!”