[WATCH] Video Shows Horrors of Childbirth in Sierra Leone #MaternalHealth

The United Nations has designated Sierra Leone as the most dangerous place to have a baby. In fact, it has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world at 1,360 deaths per 100,000 live births. On average, most women have at least six babies in Sierra Leone.

In a previous post I mentioned the Aminata Maternal Foundation that helps pregnant women in Sierra Leone. An Australian organization, it was started by a woman, Aminata Conteh-Biger, who became a sex slave during the Liberian Civil War. Now, she is giving back to expectant mothers after so many years away from her home country.

This video shows the work of the Aminata Maternal Foundation and how it oftentimes becomes difficult for young pregnant girls to receive permission from family and elders to deliver in a hospital or health center. It also shows the frustration of healthcare workers who try to teach entire villages about the importance of proper maternal healthcare.

To help more mothers deliver safely in Sierra Leone you can donate monthly or one time at aminatamaternalfoundation.org/donate.

5 Ways to Help Provide Clean Water During World Water Week

The United Nations doesn’t mince words when it says that water scarcity is one of the world’s biggest challenges. If measurable changes do not happen, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in water-stressed countries by 2025.

I have seen how water scarcity is already a mainstay for families in rural Africa and southeast Asia. Even here in the United States we know that Americans experience water scarcity in places such as Flint, Michigan and California. And lest we forget, we also need to make sure our oceans are free of plastics and pollutants.

Here are five organizations where you can donate this final day of World Water Week.

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Joint Commission Creates New Standards of Care to Curb Maternal Mortality

One of the leading causes of maternal mortality in the United States is hemorrhaging. In fact, according to the CDC hemorrhaging accounts for 11.2% of pregnancy-related deaths. Based on these increasing numbers since 1986 the Joint Commission, the country’s leading accreditation organization for hospitals, has created 13 new standards for perinatal safety for hospitals to properly care for women who hemorrhage during or after delivery. These standards were designed specifically to prevent, recognize and treat, as well as evaluate patients for transfer to critical care for not only hemorrhage but also severe hypertension/preeclampsia.

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I Never Thought I’d Ever Say “My Mother Needs a New Kidney”

My mother with my daughters.

As long as I have been able to make an informed decision I have always listed myself as an organ donor. For me, organ donation is and has always been the obligatory box I quickly checked “yes” to.

To me, if for some unforeseen reason, I passed away suddenly and had salvageable organs that doctors could use I wanted them to go to people who could use them. Organ donation is a decision that is more complicated for some people than others, I’ve learned. That is perfectly, perfectly fine. For me, though, it has always been an absolute.

Continue reading I Never Thought I’d Ever Say “My Mother Needs a New Kidney”

Women Celebrated on This Year’s World Humanitarian Day #WomenHumanitarians

Today is World Humanitarian Day, the annual day where we celebrate humanitarians all over the world who work every day to save lives even in some of the world’s most dangerous countries. This year the world is celebrating women humanitarians as often they are on the front lines in our world’s worst crises.

We know that it can be especially harrowing to be an aid worker in countries like Syria, Yemen, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. We appreciate all of their efforts to continue to work even in dangerous circumstances. Read 24 hours of stories of women front line humanitarians on worldhumanitarianday.org.

Today, I would like to celebrate an aid worker I met in the Philippines when I traveled with World Vision USA to see their life-saving work after the devastating typhoon, Haiyan. Her name is Mai Zamora and she left an indelible impression on me. She was always upbeat despite the number of families who were in need of everything from food and jobs to housing and clothing. And, she was always available for questions and has personal stories about how she fared during the typhoon. When I met her, she was the definition of an aid worker to me along with her colleagues who are still doing amazing work in the Philippines and around the world.

Continue reading Women Celebrated on This Year’s World Humanitarian Day #WomenHumanitarians

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