Breath of Fresh Air Fundraiser: Raising funds for Malawian Moms
As citizens of a country with abundant health resources the anticipated birth of a baby is always a joyous experience. We celebrate with baby showers, prepare with name selections, and decorate the newborn's room. Whether caused by joy or oxygen, the baby's first breath is accompanied with tears from everyone who witnesses it. In this country it is uncommon for us to worry about that baby's first breath being the mother's last. However, in impoverished countries such as Malawi, Africa that reality is far too common.
According to the World Health Organization Malawi's maternal mortality rate is 460 per 100,000 live births. The maternal mortality rate in the United States is 12.7 per 100,000 live births. The most common cause of death for mothers during live births is post partum hemorrhaging, which accounts for over 50% of the maternal deaths. Providing oxygen to mothers through portable ventilators during child delivery decreases the risk of mortality from post partum hemorrhaging. Unfortunately hospitals such as Queen Elizabeth lack the financial resources to purchase enough ventilators for their soon to be mothers. Queen Elizabeth Hospital is the largest hospital in Malawi and has the second highest maternal mortality rate. The University of Chicago chapter of United Against Infectious Diseases in coalition with the University of Chicago Graduate Council, and the non-profit organization Then Just Feed One, Inc. is raising funds to purchase 4 ventilators for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. To ensure that the ventilators are delivered directly to the hospital, a group of University of Chicago students will be traveling to Malawi this summer to deliver the ventilators personally to the maternity ward.
The ventilators cost approximately $4,000 each, hence why so many hospitals in impoverished areas lack the resources to provide enough of them to their patients. On behalf of the University of Chicago chapter of United Against Infectious Diseases and Then Just Feed One, Inc., we are asking you to join us in raising funds and help us provide a breath of fresh air to these soon to be mothers so that their newborn's first breath isn't their last.
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