TAKING A MULTI-LEVEL APPROACH
GMEF has a multi-level approach to addressing the root causes of maternal and infant mortality in remote, impoverished villages. These communities experience a disproportionate share of suffering and loss caused by easily preventable problems.
GMEF currently has ongoing and highly effective projects in Southern Bolivia, as well as newly launched programs in Peru.
BIRTH ATTENDANT TRAININGS
Together with the Ministry of Health, GMEF is working to train and supply a skilled birth attendant for every village in Sud Lipez.
Most of the communities we work with are a two to eight hour drive from the nearest hospital, and since few villagers have access to transportation, hospital delivery for pregnant women is rare. This means that treatable complications often result in poor outcomes (including death) for babies and/or mothers.
To address this, GMEF trains birth attendants to prevent infections and hemorrhage associated with childbirth, and provides education to identify early signs of illness in pregnant women. The birth attendants are also trained and equipped to provide basic newborn care and to teach mothers how to care for their infants.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH DOCTOR & NURSE TRAININGS
For some women in less remote areas, there may be a Ministry of Health doctor or nurse available to attend their deliveries. However, often times, they lack the specific training or supplies needed to prevent poor outcomes.
GMEF has been working with these doctors and nurses to improve their skill level and provide them with critical supplies so that they can, for instance, resuscitate newborns who do not breathe on their own.
Using materials from Helping Babies Breathe, a WHO and American Academy of Pediatrics program, we have trained over 100 doctors and nurses to perform critical newborn care and provided them with the necessary supplies and equipment.
Many women living in poor, rural areas of developing countries have no access to contraception. As a result, these women have many closely-spaced pregnancies, which puts them at greater risk for pregnancy-related death and puts their children at greater risk of malnutrition, inadequate educational opportunities and greater poverty.
Working with the Ministry of Health, GMEF gives women who desire contraception access to safe birth control options.
CLEAN WATER PROJECTS
One of the main causes of infant and childhood mortality in the developing world is lack of access to clean water.
While over 80% of the world’s population has access to clean water, there are an overwhelming number of communities in Bolivia that still collect water from contaminated sources.
Guided by GMEF, the local Department of Sanitation and Hygiene identifies villages that do not yet have safe water and then works with community members to develop a water system plan. GMEF purchases the required supplies, including holding tanks, pumps and tubing, and then coordinates the implementation and completion of the project.
The villages perform all of the labor for installing and maintaining these systems, ensuring they are invested in the process. They also provide for the ongoing maintenance of this life-saving resource.
GMEF has helped to construct over 750 bathrooms that serve approximately 6000 people in villages with already-established water systems.
Sanitation systems keep water and food sources free from contamination, which prevents diarrhea-related illnesses and malnutrition.
GMEF purchases the building supplies and the local government transports them to the communities. GMEF oversees the projects and the families build their own bathrooms. And to further ensure sustainability, the Ministry of Health provides ongoing education on hygiene and safe sanitation practices in the home.