Back 15 June 2015

A Great Relief! Direct Relief's Annual Fundraiser

In May, it was my great privilege to travel to Santa Barbara, USA, for an event organised by the wonderful women who support the non-profit organisation Direct Relief.

I spoke at their Mother’s Day Event (May 16th in the USA) about the world’s need for more midwives. It was Direct Relief’s annual fundraising do, and over the years this group has generously donated to benefit many maternal and child health initiatives. This year, the ‘Honor a Mother by Protecting Another’ event raised more than $100,000 for Direct Relief which does great work in advocating for midwives including ICM’s support of midwifery.

          Direct Relief supporters with Frances   ICM President Frances

By an extraordinary coincidence, while in Santa Barbara I saw a news report on the second earthquake in Nepal. On screen I noticed that Direct Relief was there distributing tents and midwife kits and I spotted Thomas Tighe, the CEO.  The quake had struck whilst he was helping to erect a tent.  

I emailed him and asked if he could support the midwives of Nepal?  I told him about  Kiran Bajracharya,  President of MIDSON, Nepal’s Midwifery Association, and shared what she had told me in this message:

“Our Midwifery society has started to provide services to mothers and newborns who need further help through a Help Desk at the Maternity Hospital and a mobile midwives clinic for the earthquake victims in relief areas near Kathmandu. Our further activities will be focused on more affected sites outsides the capital and seeking support from well wishers and organizations.The need for care during the aftershocks is crucial.”

He quickly replied and introduced me to the Direct Relief representative – who I then linked to Kiran. As a result, Direct Relief have made  a generous donation to help MIDSON deliver services to women and babies, and to help further build the Association, as well as making Midwife Kits and tents available.

          ICM President Speaking   Midwife kits

I was delighted to announce Direct Relief’s $100,000 donation to MIDSON at the Santa Barbara event – which in turn raised a further $100,000 for mothers and babies.

I also had the pleasure of meeting many of the DR staff (including Jessica Koval), and I made a presentation to them on the ICM, the State of the World’s Midwifery and midwifery in the USA.  I also met members of the Board.

Following two years of collaboration, ICM has given the seal of approval to Direct Relief’s Midwife Kits. The kits- so far sent to Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Philippines, and Somaliland -  contain 59 essential items to help midwives provide 50 safe births. These include drugs to prevent haemorrhage and eclampsia, surgical tools, sutures, headlamps and other items.

We look forward to plenty of further collaboration with Direct Relief!

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