Laos Birthwork - Crowdfunding
Our names are Jenny Blyth, Fiona Hallinan, Steffi Arvanitakis & Claire Eccleston. We are 4 birthworkers seeking funds to enable us to hold our next trainings in Northern Laos. After two successful trips working under the supervision of The Laos Red Cross we have been invited to return again in January 2018, once again with a focus on Maternal and Child Health.
Laos is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a high maternal and infant mortality rate. Luang Prabang province is situated in the north of Laos where it is mountainous and populated with a great number of diverse ethnicities. Most villagers live at subsistence level.
Access to health care at the nearest village clinic or district hospital is often limited and sometimes impossible, due to weather conditions, lack of transport, fear of safety on the journey, or lack of money. Sometimes there are prohibitive cultural beliefs or the fear of being treated unkindly and without privacy.
When traditional birth attendants, midwives or healthworkers from a particular village or clinic feel unsure about a situation in birth, they will transfer women on to the district or provincial hospital. Ambulance services are rare, and women are transported either on a motorbike or in a car procured at great expense. Most village clinics and many district hospitals are gravely under-resourced, and often there is an unnecessary use of resources and money. Ongoing trainings for midwives and healthworkers is scant.
Globally, there is a recognition of the difficulties of implementing the ideal of free maternal health and ‘western style’ modern obstetric care services for all pregnant women, and indeed in some countries, services are declining. There is a great need to optimize outcomes through training and supporting local midwives and health workers in low-tech skills and adapting them to difficult conditions.
This is where we come in with our collective experience. We are two midwives (one also working in Maternal & Child Health), one traditional birthworker, and one doula. We all have long years experience in both hospital and homebirth settings, and in birth education. We are also all bodyworkers with vast and rewarding experience in implementing simple touch and positioning techniques in pregnancy, birth and after the birth. We all have keen interest in passing on these hands-on low-tech skills that can make a vast difference in securing the wellbeing of mother and babe through birth.
We travel to Lao as volunteers. This enables us to implement trainings approved by the Ministry of Health, without being a registered organization. We believe in working at a grass roots level and will come under the Birthwork and World Birth Hub logos.
In our trainings we cover:
How to manage complications in an isolated situation, including resuscitation technique, and skills to help birth stuck babies and manage bleeding.
How to recognise and care for sick babies and mothers.
The importance of hygiene and nutrition.
The importance of kindness and compassion in birth. Keeping up morale and maintaining a friendly attitude.
Addressing of birth positioning options and privacy around birth.
Simple bodywork techniques for different circumstances
Acknowledgement and addressing of problems they face, with discussion.
So, we need your financial help to transport, accommodate, and train the participants in our next trainings. We also need to pay a couple of translators for both the training and for printed material. We need some educational resources for the trainings, and we want to ensure that each midwife or health worker goes home with some notes, and also some simple supplies for the village clinic. Mostly we aim to send everyone home feeling confident and inspired towards their work, acknowledged in the simple but important skills that they have, and the problems they face. Every donation is greatly appreciated.
Please check out our gofund me page https://www.gofundme.com/laobirthwork (pending update) for more details and accounts and photographs of our last two trips.
Thanks for your generosity,
Jenny Blyth, Fiona Hallinan, Steffi Arvanitakis, and Claire Eccleston