A Tale of Two Women (and thousands of lives saved…!)

This is the story of two women.  One woman uses a piece of clean string and a clean razor blade.   With  it she saves,  scores, hundreds, probably thousands of lives. The people she saves are mothers and their babies. The mothers have given birth where there is no medical assistance.  Lack of hygiene, lack of knowledge, even some traditional practices in severing the umbilical cord provide the fertile conditions for infection. Sometimes mud or even cow dung are used to apply to the raw ends of the cord.  The clean string is used simply to tie the cord and the sterile blade to cut it. .

Now the woman makes up cheap kits. They simply contain instructions, soap, sterile string and blade and some.  All it takes to save two lives is a clean pad, soap, razor blade, a length of string and a set of illustrated instructions.  Each kit will save 2 lives.  The kits are quietly  distributed to where they are needed thoughout the world.

The other woman who follows the same path. She travels to rural Central America with a small team to carry the same simple message and taking also, birthing kits with her.   Year after year she returns and year after year she finds more women who, having seen the results of what she has been teaching others, wish to learn. Her course lasts 4 days. The woman  educates child birth attendants to wash their hands. Thousands of women die every year because of not doing this. She educates them in the simple things that will save.

Both women know that 820,000 women die because of  childbirth every year; 99% of them are in developing countries.  They know that, worldwide, a woman dies in childbirth every 40 seconds.  They know that three quarters of the 4 million babies who die every year could be saved by simple interventions. They know that so many women simply have no access to safe medical facilities (in Bangladesh for example only 9% of births take place in clinics or hospitals)   They know the grief and suffering of so many families through these events.

So quietly, simply, they have rolled up sleeves and helped.  No full spread media campaigns, no double-space TV ads, no fleets of white SUV’s, no first-class  ‘celebrity spokesperson’ visits. They just do it themselves, unsung heroes, quietly saving lives…

1)   http://wordbirthaid.org
2)   http://safemotherhoodproject.org

Health Promoting Schools Colloquium, Nov 2011. A grateful student kindly writes…

Learning Outcomes from Many Voices One Song Colloquium
I would like to thank the Hillman Fund for their support for allowing me the means to attend the health promoting schools colloquium at Stias. With your support I was able to present regarding my experiences working in health promoting schools with Brighter Smiles Africa this past summer in Uganda, another project the fund kindly supported. This colloquium was the first time that I have the opportunity to present at an academic session and there are indeed many lessons that I have learned. It was  also nice to be reunited with one of the Ugandan students I had worked with in the summer.
Learning about other models of health promoting schools currently being implemented was very interesting, especially as we were learning from the very people who created them. Aside from the successes that were described, the sessions also provided healthy discussions of the challenges and obstacles that the different programs have faced and the approaches that were taken to solve some of the roadblocks. Key lessons that came up over and over again included:

·       The importance of creating relationships with communities prior to initiating projects.
·       Really listening to what is being asked for
·       Having local buy-in within communities and champions who are willing to run projects
·       Having a clear entry and exit strategy so that projects are created in a supportive and sustainable fashion 
·       Having a willingness to learn from communities and to be flexible. This can allow projects to evolve
·       How patience and persistence are critical to success in navigating complex bureaucracies

I was quite inspired by the different people that I met at the colloquium. There was such a diverse mix of professionals ranging from physicians, dentists, nurses, educators, social workers, psychologists, anthropologists, psychologists, students and politicians. Even more fascinating was the diverse collaborative roles that many of the participants had; for instance, to see a physician involved in front line education, policy making, and community development while also running a practice and having a rich personal life was vital for me to see. This alone expanded the way I view my role as a future health care provider.

Stepping back from my studies for a week to take part in this conference helped me see the bigger picture. This colloquium also helped me to create links and gain an understanding of how ideas get created, and the paths they take to get implemented. Listening to stories of success and failure taught me the importance of persistence and patience when working with bureaucracies. More importantly, this event impressed upon me the significance of collaboration – not only among colleagues and other professionals but also with members of communities – in dealing with social and health care issues.
On a personal level, I was touched by the support and encouragement that was shown to me. Prior to going, I felt as though I was just a student going to present to other professionals, but I was wrong. Throughout the entire conference I was treated as a colleague and it was an honor to be respected and heard. This experience taught me that as a student, I represent the future, and that I can have a role in helping to determine how individuals, communities and governments work in dealing with social issues.   

Participation in the colloquium has also planted seeds for future international discussion and collaboration between the students present; the chance to contribute to a consensus statement on the future of Health Promoting Schools; and an invitation to submit a joint paper to a focus edition of the journal Health Education to be dedicated to the work presented.  

Lastly, I would like to emphasize that the mentorship and guidance shown to me by Dr. Macnab and his colleagues is a precious and lasting gift that I deeply cherish.
Thank you

Mohammad Bardi    

Rose Charities Canada’s 2nd Project Presentation Forum. Vancouver

The ‘BC Place’ Sadium formed an
impressive backdrop to the meetin

The 2nd Rose Charities Canada Project Presentation Forum held at the Creekside ‘Olympic Village’ Community Centre in Vancouver attracted around 80 persons and represented a spectrum from those with close Rose involvment to those just curious to know more about Rose projects. Food was ‘pot-luck’ which resulted in a groaning table of delicious food and an drinks were available at a small donation bar.

Topics demonstrated the wide range of Rose Charities Canada involvment areas, both geographical as well as sectorial. Sadly, time, and the quantity of projects permitted only short 5 minute presentations, but this tight schedule also allowed a mid period for refreshments and all-important networking .

Rachel Greene (Rose Charities NY)
presents on Social Networking

Special guests were Rachel Greene and Clare Seekins of Rose Charities USA, who presented the work of Rose Charities NY with their digital art program for reservation youth in Idaho, as well as a talk on social media. 

The evening was deemed interesing and enjoyable by all.

Presentations consisted of ..

  • Rose Charities Canada Admin (Maggie Francis, Josephine de Freitas) http://rosecharities.ca
  • Rose Charities USA project (Idaho First Nation Youth Project) and Social Networking (Rachel Greene, Clare Seekins – both Rose Charities USA) http://rosecharities.us
  • Mayan Project (Education) (Dr Ellen Coburn) http://www.mayanproject.org
  • Safe Motherhood Guatamala (Annette Borkent) http://www.safemotherhoodproject.org
  • Malambo Grassroots (Jocelyn Banyard) http://malambograssroots.ca
  • Rose Charities in Haiti (Linda Warner) http://rosehaiti.info
  • Brighter Smiles Uganda (Drea Burbank) http://africanhearts.ca
  • Rose Charities Vietnam (Louis Lap Nguyen) http://www.rosevietnam.org
  • Education Generation (Mila Lukic ) http://www.educationgeneration.org
  • Rose Charities Cambodia (Dr Will Grut) http://rosecambodia.org
  • Volset Uganda (Roger Huyghe)
  • Stand Tall Education Uganda (Nicole Schouela) http://www.standtalleducation.org
  • Hands up for Africa Kenya (Colin Harivel) http://www.handsupforafrica.org
  • Rose Madagascar (Dr Emma Noble/Luke King) http://rosemadagascar.squarespace.com
  • Rose Sri Lanka (Mike Ramanaden) http://rosesrilanka.info
Rose Charities Canada’s Louise Aaronson and Pricilla Yogendran
take refreshments between presentation