Our infants in Afghanistan are definitely Embracing it up!
Heart-Warming Innovation Saves Mbale’s Newborns
Adonno’s baby, Sylvia, weighed just 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds) when she was delivered by midwives at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital in eastern Uganda. At that low weight, she was born without the fat necessary to regulate her body temperature, which soon dipped…
We are thrilled to have a new partner!
To learn more about HED-A, go to http://heda.clinicalaccess.org/
FROM OUR NEW PARTNER: HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND DEVELOPMENT FOR AFGHANISTAN
The initial batch of BabyWraps, WarmPaks, and AccuTemp heaters will be used around the clock at the neonatal wards of one of Kabul’s busiest maternity centers to provide much needed artificial heat to newborns in need. A well known fact is that Afghanistan has some of the worst infant mortality numbers in the world, with premature births very common and hypothermia a common contributor to the grim data. Tools to combat hypothermia, such as expensive incubators that cost even more to maintain, are rare but often non-existent. Our hope is that the Embrace Nest will prove effective as an alternative, with a potential for having significant impact.
The management staff at RBH familiarize themselves with the Embrace Nest.
After this initial launch, the program will be expanded to 3 other public hospitals where the need is greatest with a potential for further expansion beyond the urban center–security permitting. Once the units are integrated with the flow of the hospital, we will provide more frequent updates, and hopefully some outcome data.
Ms. Meela Sarwar (left), a nurse by training will be supporting us as the Site Manager at RBH”
Embrace in partnership with BT has implemented a project in Rajasthan, India with the Government of Rajasthan. We are deploying our infant warmers in all major government clinics including primary health centers (clinics which serve a few villages) in the district of Baran, a high-focus district with a significant tribal population. To read a recent press article, click here. And to find out how the project is saving the lives of babies, read Anita’s and Rajkumari’s stories below.
Anita: After 2 failed pregnancies, 22-year old Anita gave birth to a 5 pound baby boy in CHC Kelwara, Baran. The baby was significantly hypothermic when the doctor decided to place the baby in the Embrace Warmer. After one night in the device, the baby was able to regulate his body temperature and Anita was able to take the baby home. When our field team visited Anita 10 days later, she proudly showed her bundle of joy, who was doing extremely well and gaining weight. Anita’s self-confidence had also increased as she had been able to present her family with a healthy baby.
Rajkumari: is from the village of Mamoni. Her husband is a daily wage laborer. Though her baby girl was born at a healthy weight of 5.5 pounds, she was hypothermic. Thanks to the warmth provided by the Embrace warmer, the baby was feeding and sleeping really well. The baby has also been steadily gaining weight.
Nearly two years have passed since I first heard about Embrace. On that quiet Southern California Friday night back in December 2010, there was no way of telling how much a single episode of ABC’s “20/20” would shape my outlook on premature infants—the tiniest and often most resilient of miracles.
The story Elizabeth Vargas told of an incubator designed for the developing world, low in cost and high in efficiency, intuitive to use and affordable to obtain had immediate resonance with me. I was born three months premature, weighing one pound, six ounces. I remained in the hospital for 110 days and am now legally blind as a result of my premature entrance to this world. I cannot imagine the plethora of emotions my parents felt at the birth of their first child. Instead of tears of elation, droplets of fear rolled down their cheeks and doubt seeped into their minds. Even so, unsure if I would live or die, they had faith that I could overcome. Time and time again, I have proven the doctors wrong and accomplished what they said would be impossible. The doctors told my parents I had little to no chance at a “normal’ life. They told my father when I was a kid that I would never ride a bike. My father, determined that his son could do anything in life, bought me an apple-red bicycle. Three months later I rode that bike around my neighborhood.
Thus the tale of Embrace transformed me from passive observer to ardent fan to grassroots activist. In the months following that television segment I reached out to my local community organizing a talent show that raised over $3,000 shortly after my high school graduation.
Beginning my undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley—birthplace of the Free Speech Movement and student efficacy—it was only natural that my work with Embrace should continue. I started Embrace, the Berkeley Chapter an on-campus student group dedicated to spreading awareness and gathering funds so Embrace may continue its vital work. If bureaucratic red tape such as forming a constitution, authoring bills in the student government and navigating the procedural maze of room reservations were not difficult enough, we also faced the daunting task of recruiting members among a sea of over 700 other student groups.
Yet, the journey with all its trials and tribulations has been the most rewarding of my life. Now in February 2013, the Executive Board and I have found students not only receptive to Embrace but passionate and enthusiastic to join. Our Chapter—the first of its kind in the nation—has hosted poker tournaments, sold water bottles, partnered with other groups and made countless memories; all while supporting an organization dedicated to saving lives.
Amid the backbreaking mountains of reading, endless hours of lab, marathon of extracurricular activities and formidable pressures of daily life, students are often faced with choices. We are asked to affirm with conviction what we hold to be our most valued ideas and uncompromising beliefs. For the Executive Board of Embrace, the Berkeley Chapter we choose to hold these truths as self-evident; that every child no matter what they look like or where they are born deserves the chance to grow, to thrive, to dream, to live. That is our mission. To be the change, save a life and spread the warmth.
Please help us continue to spread the warmth!
President, Embrace Berkeley Chapter
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Embrace partner, Teso Safe Motherhood Project (TSMP), Uganda Africa, provides healthcare to the most vulnerable populations in the region. There were no working incubators or radiant warmers in the area, and management of hypothermia often means resorting to the use of hot water bottles or charcoals.
Soroti, Uganda has one of the highest rates of Malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria often invades the placenta causing babies to be very low birth weight, even with full term pregnancies.
Just a few days after the clinic at Teso Safe Motherhood Project received the Embrace infant warmers, a mother infected with Malaria gave birth to full-term yet low-birth-weight baby girl, Abina, weighing only 4.1 pounds. Swaddled in cloth and placed snuggly next to her mother, nurses thought she was sufficiently warm. As part of the Embrace program, the staff had recently received training on neonatal hypothermia and implemented a new practice of monitoring the temperatures of all newborns. When they measured her temperature, they were shocked to find that the tiny infant was suffering from hypothermia and was struggling to keep warm.
The baby was also not able to breastfeed properly because she was cold. After stabilizing her body temperature by using the infant warmer, the baby was able to breastfeed; over the course of the next few days, she began to gain weight and grow, as a result of her regular feedings and temperature stability. Thanks to Embrace, baby Abina was able to come home to her new family.
Hypothermia is often referred to as a “silent killer.” The staff was alarmed to learn that neonatal hypothermia was a prevalent issue at their clinic. Previous to Embrace, TSMP did not have any other means to provide warmth to this tiny baby. Morris, a nurse at the clinic, feels that the presence of Embrace has provided a voice for these tiny babies by creating awareness about the presence of hypothermia.
Jennifer Braun, Executive Director of the International Midwife Assistance whom supports the TSMP clinic explains, “Really we have found the warmers to be a big help. We had a big problem with hypothermia that we didn’t even know about. The first lesson that we have learned is that awareness of hypothermia here is low and that the Embrace warmers are an excellent tool not only for treating hypothermia, but also for raising awareness of hypothermia.”
Molly Ronan, Development Associate
This week the Embrace staff in San Francisco took a moment to celebrate another milestone: the first birthday of Baby Long in Beijing, China! As you might remember, Long was the first infant Embrace helped in China. Abandoned at birth and severely hypothermic, Long survived thanks to thirty days in the Embrace warmer and the loving care of our partner Little Flower Orphanage. He is now thriving and making great strides in his development.
Baby Long has been a source of inspiration to our entire team as he has struggled to overcome the difficult circumstances of his birth. His first birthday is also very momentous because it marks the anniversary of our work in China and our first full year of bringing the Embrace warmer to children around the world. So far we have helped to save the lives of over 3000 low birth weight and premature infants. We are able to keep close tabs on Long because of the amazing work of his caretakers at Little Flower. But we know that each one of those 3000 infants we have reached so far has a similarly compelling story. Today we celebrate every one of them, and look forward to the many more birthdays yet to come because of Embrace and our partners around the world.
Thank you for helping us spread the warmth!
- Erin O’Donohue, Executive Director
BSSK is a non-profit organization that provides welfare services to families and children in need, irrespective of caste, creed, community or religion. They are based in Pune, India. Their small neonatal nursery typically treats up to 10 babies at any given time, and while they have some radiant warmers to care for their premature and low birth weight babies, they do not have enough to accomodate all the babies. Embrace is excited to be partnering with BSSK, as we strive to provide all babies with an equal chance for a healthy life. BSSK is using the Embrace infant warmer to provide thermal care to babies that need thermal stabilization and support.
Baby Girija was hypothermic when she was first brought to BSSK. She was kept in the Embrace warmer until she was able to regulate her body temperature. She is now feeding regularly and is putting on weight. Thanks to Embrace and the dedicated care she is receiving through BSSK, baby Girija is thriving!
Please help us continue to spread the warmth!