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LFAM Newsletter August 2020

The current global crisis has brought so many aspects of life, that we had maybe thought less important than in past years, back to the forefront of our minds. The importance of effective communication being one such part of of our lives. We've taken everything for granted, popping to family and friends, shopping and particularly a hug when we meet those we know and love. In what seems like the blink of an eye, the world and life have changed beyond recognition, possibly temporarily, maybe on a more permanent basis. At this moment, we don't know, but we have to marvel at the ingenuity of the human spirit in finding whole new ways of supporting each other. At times, communication technology can be a burden, but in this situation, tools such as Skype, FaceTime, Zoom etc have proven to be priceless.

We in LFAM have had to put one of our two core activities on hold, that of sending our amazing midwives to Sierra Leone and Liberia, plus we were almost at the point of adding Ghana and Benin to our partner countries, when everything stopped. We have a growing database of volunteers ready and willing to travel and share their skills with local midwives. When that will happen, we don't know. They are as keen to learn from their sisters and brothers, who are working in these most challenging environments, which are likely to be hit by this pandemic, as we in the UK have been; however the impact for them will be that much greater and longer lasting. For midwives and doctors in Sierra Leone and Liberia, who endured the tragedy of Ebola 5yrs ago, the terms lockdown and social distancing are no strangers. Major cultural changes had to be introduced and life was never the same. They have also faced flooding and landslides, disaster after disaster, yet their community spirits and determination got them through, ready to face yet another challenge!

LFAM has continued to send our life saving medications and as we write, a shipment of Misoprostol is being prepared and will be on its way to Sierra Leone, with a further shipment for Somaliland and Liberia soon afterwards. We must say a huge thank you to International Health Partners who, despite the challenges are continuing to ship medications across the world to some of the poorest countries on our planet. Finding flights to transport our medications is just one challenge they face. We were fortunate to visit IHP's HQ in London before the crisis hit and were totally inspired by the commitment, meticulous attention to detail and the family atmosphere we witnessed. We were accompanied by Sam Falloon, our Midwife Trustee and Kabir Miah, from Muntada Aid, one of our funders for the midwifery visits.

We have asked some of our partners to contribute to this newsletter, to explain how this current crisis is affecting them. We are obviously aware of how the restrictions here in the UK are affecting everyone, but we thought that having these reports will show how countries with poor infrastructures, very limited healthcare systems and no financial safety-net are having to deal with this invisible enemy. The overwhelming outpouring of love for our incredible NHS, social care staff and all the other essential, but often invisible people out there has been without precedent and we are sure will bring a renewed appreciation for what is the envy of so many countries.

From Mr Morlai Kamara, Country Representative
Sierra Leone

COVID 19 sensitization and donations exercise at the Freetown Slum communities.

LFAM was awarded a grant by the Wales for Africa Programme, through the WCVA. The project led by Morlai Kamara, targeted the most challenging environments in and around Freetown. As you can see from the photographs, our volunteers wore distinctive pink teeshirts and distributed a range of items including masks, information sheets and food. Morlai appeared on local TV and a jingle was created, alerting communities of risks and management. We always keep in mind that helping to protect our community families helps to protect us. Thanks to everyone involved in this incredible project.

Over to you now Morlai:

"To start we covered three communities namely : Calaba Town Community, Mabala Community and Susan’s Bay Community and the following day we covered five communities namely: Falcom Community, Bus Station Community, King Jimmy Community, Surpit Community and Kroobay Community.

All the activities have very been successful. I'd like to share photos below:"

From Dr Joseph Kakisingi, St Vincent's Hospital
Bukavu, DRC

Since the introduction of misoprostol in the prevention of PPH in our hospital, the level of PPH has dropped significantly and the work of midwives is done with great serenity. Both midwives and women who have given birth appreciate this therapy, and the news spreads by word of mouth among women who have given birth and those who are waiting to give birth. Many of the cases that we lost in the past are currently being handled with great satisfaction thanks to misoprostol.
Mom Bituzo Angélique arrived to give birth. Everything was going normally until delivery but suddenly a major hemorrhage appeared. Anatomically any lesion was excluded, so the problem seemed to be related to uterine atony. We then decided to apply our Misoprostol-based Protocol in the event of postpartum hemorrhage linked to a non-anatomical cause. After 30 minutes, the problem was solved and this woman's life saved.
Thank you again to everyone who is involved in getting our moms to receive misoprostol.

Not all heroes wear capes!

What makes a hero?

This beautiful human being is Yamah Siafa, a midwife from Redemption Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. She is without doubt, one of our heroes. We met Yamah in the early years of our partnership with Liberia ... she worked through the Ebola crisis. Just like her colleagues, she doesn’t know whether, or how much she is going to be paid. Yet she still goes to work and looks after the mothers and babies to the best of her ability within the constraints of the resources available.
Not all heroes wear capes ... some wear blue paper hats!

Thank you Yamah and all your colleagues. We are in awe of you!

Send a birthday or greeting card and make a donation to LFAM
Donation Gift Cards

If you want to send a special best wishes to people, you could send a cheque donation to LFAM and we will send a gift card onto the intended recipient with your message inside. Or we can send the card back to you for you to give to them personally.

1. Mother and child

2. Misoprostol delivery to Panzi Hospital, Democratic Republic of Congo

3. Misoprostol delivery to St Vincent Hospital, Democratic Republic of Congo

You can choose whatever amount you want from £5 upwards. Medication costs 50p per mother, so if you send a cheque to LFAM for say £20, we will send the recipient a voucher saying that the gift has saved 40 mothers.

Send your cheque, message, card choice ( 1.Mother and Child, 2.Panzi, 3.St Vincent) and recipient's address to:

Life for African Mothers
Big Yellow Self Storage Company Ltd
65 Penarth Rd
Cardiff CF10 5DL
United Kingdom

Message inside card:

Midwives and Volunteers for Africa Day

We had planned on having a Midwives and Volunteers for Africa Day here in Cardiff on June 19th, but sadly it had to be postponed due to the impact of the virus and the pressures on our midwives within their individual workplaces across the UK.

When we do have the event, we hope that it will be as much a celebration and appreciation as a get together, with a real party atmosphere to enjoy.

Anyone who helps us to continue saving lives is welcome..more news will be on the Facebook pages and the next newsletter.

Life For African Mothers

65 Penarth Road, Cardiff
United Kingdom

Newsletter edited by Angela Gilmour with contributions from Angela Gorman and our LFAM community.

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