Author: Kupona Foundation

photo-1-photo-courtesy-of-sala-lewis

Four ways we’re making progress toward the Global Goals

This week marks the first anniversary of the launch of the Global Goals. As the global development community convenes in New York City for the United Nations’ General Assembly week, what better time to reflect on progress? In a country where, on average, one woman will die every hour from mostly preventable complications in pregnancy or childbirth1, Tanzania is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth. The good news: thanks to your support and the dedicated team on the ground, lives are being saved. We are making progress toward the Global Goals. 1. Empowering Medical Teams to Save Lives. Dar es Salaam is one of the largest, and fastest growing cities in Africa, with a population projected to exceed 7 million by 20252. Today, a healthcare system designed to support 750,000 people is supporting 4.4 million. Hospitals and clinics throughout the region are severely overcrowded, understaffed, and under resourced, with patients suffering as a result. Our sister organization, CCBRT, recognized that healthcare teams in the Dar es Salaam region were …

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Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula

Post Written By: Abbey Kocan, Executive Director  The first time I met a woman who was recovering from obstetric fistula surgery, I was faced with a reality I had been sheltered from for far too long. Four years later, while the level of awareness around this condition in the developed world has grown, there is still a lot of work to be done before this critical global health challenge is given a permanent place in the spotlight. Imagine if, while giving birth, you or your partner faced a complication requiring emergency medical care. Imagine if that care was unavailable, and you lost your baby. You grieve for the loss of the child who was so close to living. You, or your partner, suffer silently, trying to find a way to cope with the physical trauma that leaves you incontinent, unable to work and further devastated by judgment and abuse at the hands of your friends and family. Kupona Foundation’s fistula program has treated patients as young as 12, and as old as 82. Imagine living …

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Equality for Mothers and Newborns on International Women’s Day

Written by Abbey Kocan, Executive Director of Kupona Foundation, and Erwin Telemans, CEO of CCBRT This International Women’s Day, individuals and organizations across the globe are shining a light on the issue of women’s equality, and celebrating the accomplishments of extraordinary women. As CEO of CCBRT, a leading provider of quality healthcare in Tanzania, and Executive Director of Kupona Foundation, CCBRT’s US-based sister organization, we are inspired every day by the women we serve in Tanzania. We also have a unique perspective on an inequality facing thousands of women in Tanzania: limited access to high quality maternal healthcare. It speaks volumes that the majority of expectant mothers with the financial resources to do so will leave Tanzania to deliver their babies in South Africa, Kenya, or Europe. Why do they lack confidence in Tanzanian hospitals? Comprehensive emergency obstetric care is available in only 5% of Tanzania’s public hospitals. Expectant mothers know that if there is a complication during labor, both they and their baby might not survive. They also know that if their baby develops a …

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Giving Thanks For the Care That Saved My Son’s Life

I did not give birth in Tanzania, although some people had asked me if I would, given my professional focus on maternal healthcare in the country. Despite impressive improvements being made to the quality of care in Tanzanian facilities by Kupona Foundation’s sister organization, CCBRT, pregnancy and childbirth is still a high-risk ordeal. The maternal mortality rate remains stubbornly high, with 8,000 women dying every year. The odds are worse for babies. Each year in Tanzania, 39,000 newborns do not survive their first month of life. If I had delivered in Tanzania, my son would have been one of them. O n September 24th, my husband Mike and I became parents. Three days later, we left the hospital with a healthy baby boy, and with a renewed appreciation for the medical care available just a quarter mile from our home. In my last HuffPost article, I painted a contrasting picture between the expectations of parenthood and childbirth in the U.S. and Tanzania. I wanted to understand, as much as I could, the reality experienced by …

Photo Credit: Ben Eagle

Advancing Maternal Health: A multifaceted approach to complex problems

By Samantha Bossalini, Communications and Development Associate, Kupona Foundation The Challenges We Face: In Tanzania we lose approximately 22 women1 and 106 newborns2 every day due to childbirth and pregnancy related complications. These deaths are, for the most part, preventable. For every woman that dies, 20 more will develop an injury, infection, or debilitating impairment like obstetric fistula3. In Dar es Saalam, Tanzania’s largest city and one of the fastest growing cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, booming population growth puts a huge demand on the healthcare system. Unable to withstand the pressure, hospitals are left with severe staff and resource shortages. In some of the busiest maternity wards in the city, up to 5 women in labor can be found in a single bed, and in some cases women have no choice but to give birth on the floor. One-third of maternal deaths are a result of post-partum hemorrhaging, but access to a safe blood supply is severely limited. Equipment is often broken, or unavailable, and there are not enough trained professionals to give each mother …

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Global Goals: How exactly are we going to achieve them?

By Alexandra Cairns, External Affairs Manager, Kupona Foundation The Sustainable Development Goals, now referred to as the Global Goals, are finally here. Seventeen goals established to achieve three extraordinary things in the next fifteen years: end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change. We’ve spent the last two weeks at events in New York City, all of which centered around one question: how do we accomplish these goals? Here, I summarize Kupona Foundation’s three key takeaways from UNGA week. “Integrated Development is not a panacea” UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka The importance of integrated development, the concept of bringing together stakeholders from a range of policy areas and disciplines in order to foster sustainable change, is undeniable. How can you encourage positive health-seeking behavior without considering education? Or promote equality without addressing access to employment, education and healthcare? As Gregory Beck, Director of Integrated Development at FHI360 put it at the event, ‘Does 1+1=3,’ “people don’t live their lives in silos…shouldn’t our work reflect that?” For the team at Kupona Foundation, …

Photo Credit: Kupona Foundation

Building on 15 Years of Progress

By Alexandra Cairns, External Affairs Manager, Kupona Foundation For anyone studying, working in, or interested in global development, this week will be monumental. The framework upon which the development community built 15 years of programing, funding strategies and advocacy is shifting. A new set of targets has dominated the discourse for the last 9 months, and will continue to do so until 2030: SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) will replace the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals), renewing our focus on long term, scalable solutions for the many challenges facing the development and prosperity of global communities. At Kupona Foundation, we believe that people and communities need to be empowered to realize their full potential, and build productive futures. This starts with improving their access to healthcare. Healthy people can work, go to school, and care for their families. Access to quality healthcare has a ripple effect, amplifying positive impact across communities. We are encouraged by the themes and conversations surrounding the UN General Assembly and associated events this week: safe surgery, mobile innovations in maternal health, and …

16-year-old Malela is considered ‘lucky’ to have survived her obstructed labor

Why is motherhood in Tanzania about luck?

Written by Samantha Bossalini, Communications and Development Associate, Kupona Foundation This past March, I visited our implementing partner, CCBRT, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. One humid afternoon, I sat with a dozen ladies recovering from surgery to repair the trauma of obstetric fistula. I was surprised by a common thread weaving through each heartbreaking account: luck. For these women, aged 16 to 65-years old, surviving childbirth and becoming a mother had been a deadly game of chance. Lucky because she survived Malela had just turned sixteen. She was petite, shy, and her voice grew quiet when she spoke about the day she lost her baby – one of the 39,000 babies who die every year in Tanzania1. In the US, a 16-year-old girl would be thinking about friends, boys, passing her driver’s test and studying for college entry exams. Malela was telling me about the day she lost her baby. After two days of contractions she passed out from exhaustion. Her now stillborn child was removed with forceps and taken away. When she woke, she remembers feeling her …

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Women Making It Happen in Tanzania

International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate women across the globe who are inspiring change in their communities. At Kupona Foundation, we are lucky enough to meet and work with women like this every day as we pull together to improve access to quality healthcare for vulnerable people in Tanzania. Their dedication, endurance, and compassion are changing lives, building stronger communities, and creating better futures for other women and families in Tanzania. Mama Millinga: A beacon of hope and support for Tanzania’s most vulnerable women Mama Millinga works with our partner, CCBRT, and is responsible for the full spectrum of rehabilitative care for obstetric fistula patients at CCBRT’s hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Utilizing various techniques, including physiotherapy, art, music, group and individual counselling, Mama Millinga addresses not only the physical effects of fistula, but also the emotional and psychological impact of years of loss, rejection, and marginalization. “When I see women who have been abandoned or beaten by their husbands, excluded by their families, it hurts me a lot.” Read More Esther: …

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Maternal healthcare in Tanzania: Giving thanks for little victories

For those of us passionate about improving access to quality maternal healthcare, thinking about progress towards the MDGs can be disheartening. But this holiday season, as we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States, we are reminding ourselves to be grateful for the little victories. A long way to go It’s a sobering fact that, despite encouraging steps in the right direction, we are very far from reaching our goals (1). The global maternal mortality ratio has dropped by 45% between 1990 and 2013: far short of the 75% target. The maternal mortality ratio in developing regions is 14 times higher than in developed regions. 300,000 women worldwide died in 2013 due to pregnancy or childbirth related causes. Tanzania: The national context Kupona Foundation is a non-profit committed to improving access to quality maternal healthcare in Tanzania. If I focus on the Tanzanian context, the picture is still bleak. Every year, 8,000 women die as a result of childbirth or pregnancy related causes (2). For every woman that dies, 20 more will develop an infection, injury or …