Christmas Appeal saving lives...
In the last two weeks I've had the extraordinary privilege of visiting our projects in both Haiti and Uganda, witnessing afresh the daily life saving work that you support. One of the most powerful mornings was spent in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, one of the largest settlements in the world with about 280,000 people. In the space of a few hours I heard the stories of four refugee mothers, all whose lives had been saved in part thanks to the CRADLE Project we've implemented with KCL, BMS World Mission and UNHCR.
One mother had walked a week fleeing the brutal civil war in South Sudan, carrying her baby on her back and powerfully sharing the tragic reality of how they'd lost people on the way. Her story sadly wasn't unique in this context; the trauma and pain is evident in so many. Now living in a refugee settlement she was identified by one of the Volunteer Health Team (VHT) workers we'd helped train and equip with the CRADLE device. Upon measuring her blood pressure, the VHT was alerted by the red warning light on the device, indicating this pregnant mother was high risk and needed urgent care. The VHT quickly referred the expectant mother to a clinic, where she was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia at 8 months and given an emergency C-Section, saving her and her gorgeous twins (pictured above).
There were 3 other women we met in similar circumstances in those few hours. Again and again I heard the local team share, 'if it wasn't for this device (CRADLE), maybe this mother would have died.' It was a poignant reality, especially when you considered the babies lives that had also been saved.
Everyday around 830 women die globally due to childbirth, 99% of those deaths happen in the developing and most are avoidable. The huge discrepancy between maternal mortality rates in the UK and somewhere like Uganda can largely be explained by poor recognition of conditions and lack of timely intervention.
The CRADLE device that only costs £20 is offering that recognition to some of the most vulnerable mothers on the planet and ensuring timely intervention. I was inspired to hear a recent story by Professor Shennan who pioneered this device, where he'd seen one CRADLE device in Sierra Leone that had been used for 3 years without fault, measuring the vital signs of an estimated 500,000+ women. When you consider that this year alone HHA have trained and equipped over 600 Volunteer Health Teams each with their own device, plus many more clinics, you can see what an impact £20 can have when scaled up.
This Christmas the HHA family around the world will be reflecting on the birth of Jesus. It's a challenge to us all that over 2,000 years on since His birth, and thousands of babies still enter into the world in the same way He did. In desperate conditions, without any medical support, to vulnerable mothers, alone and isolated. This Christmas we want to overcome this reality and ensure pregnant mothers around the world can give birth safely.
We'd love your support to make this possible. Please do join us in our Christmas Appeal by making a donation, sharing this campaign on social media, or getting your church involved.
On behalf of everyone at HHA and all those you continue to bless and support with life-saving care, may we wish you all a very Happy Christmas! Be encouraged this Christmas time by the video below and the difference you're making!