In fact, we love all mothers. That’s why ASPIRE held our first ever Maternal Health Weekend in May. Thanks to our sponsors, Community Mutual, Services UNE, Zonta International Armidale Division, and Booloominbah, it was a great success with a splendid turnout to all the events.
The first success came in a little late thanks to the fog at Armidale airport but eventually Dr David Browning arrived for our fundraising lunch on Friday May10th. David is one of the founders of the Barbara May Foundation, the charity which ASPIRE has chosen to sponsor this year.
The Barbara May Foundation raises funds to support the work of David’s sister Valerie Browning and son, Dr Andrew Browning in Ethiopia. The Foundation aims to decrease the high incidence of women and babies who die or are injured during childbirth and thereby reduce the number of women suffering from obstetric fistula.
David gave a great interactive speech about his time working in Africa, the interesting people he has met and some really interesting facts about Ethiopia. Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world. The Afar Region where the Barbara May Foundation does most of its work is mostly Muslim and the 1.5 million Afar people in Ethiopia are traditionally nomadic herders. Before the Barbara May foundation there were no obstetric services in Ethiopia, most women deliver in their villages with no medical attention whatsoever. As a result it is estimated that up to 1 in 12 women will die from pregnancy during their lifetime.
It’s not too late to donate to David’s cause, go to this website www.barbaramayfoundation.com/
The success and charity continued on Saturday morning with the construction of 600 birthing kits in less than 2 hours. Our keen volunteers from around the uni and the ladies from Zonta International, Armidale Division got straight to work, after washing their hands and putting on gloves of course. Once the birthing kits are constructed they are sent to women in developing countries to assist the provision of a clean and safe birth.
It all happened in a flurry and in no time we were celebrating with a well earned BBQ lunch and watching a very moving film about five women in Ethiopia suffering from devastating childbirth injuries, called ‘A Walk to Beautiful’.
If you want to know more visit www.birthingkitfoundation.org.au/
Sunday May 12th was our Maternal Skills day; it featured hands-on practical stations taught by local doctors and senior medical students. The skill stations helped to equip us with some basic skills in obstetrics and neonatal medicine, including foetal parameter checks through ultrasound, and management of some of the leading causes of maternal death. It was a very motivating and interesting day had by all.
The Maternal Health Weekend was great fun for all involved and through the kindness and enthusiasm of the many volunteers we raised $990 for the Barbara May foundation. Hopefully next year will be even bigger and better, see you all then.
- Jonathon Stacey Sponsorship Officer Armidale Students Promoting International Rights and Equality (ASPIRE)