10,000 Happy Birthdays

ICM and Laerdal Global Health joined hands in an effort to help at least 10,000 mothers and newborn babies survive in Malawi and Zambia by the end of 2016 and make 10,000 happy birthdays.

10,000 Happy Birthdays

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In many countries around the world the day of birth is a time of celebration. However, countries like Malawi and Zambia have among the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, making the day of birth dangerous for both the mother and her newborn baby. Every year in Zambia, 6,000 newborns die on their first day of life. In Malawi, 1 in 36 women dies from complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth. The lifetime risk for a woman dying while giving birth in these countries is about 200 times higher compared to Norway, one of the world’s safest countries to give birth. 

Laerdal Global Health (LGH) pledged to run a fundraising campaign to raise up to $1,500,000 to train midwives and other healthcare providers in Helping Mothers Survive Bleeding After Birth (HMS-BAB) and Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) programmes. ICM had taken the responsibility to roll out the programmes in Zambia and Malawi in collaboration with LGH and the Midwives Associations of Zambia and Malawi. HMS-BAB is an evidence-based training programme to teach healthcare providers lifesaving skills on how to manage and control postpartum haemorrhage. HBB is a training programme for the management and prevention of birth asphyxia. Management of postpartum haemorrhage and prevention of birth asphyxia are both part of ICM’s Essential Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice.

With the two innovative programs, HBB and HMS-BAB, midwives learn simple measures to prevent, identify, and treat the leading causes of death associated with childbirth. Midwives trained in HMS-BAB and HBB can help save countless newborns and mothers every year. ‘We are committed to create a global reach of these highly sustainable initiatives, and contribute to the reversing of the unacceptable loss of life at birth. ICM is well placed to reach tens of thousands of midwives with these lifesaving measures by working through our more than 100 member associations around the globe’, said Frances Day-Stirk, ICM President.

'This is a good opportunity for Zambia, we have a very high maternal mortality, many women are dying of postpartum haemorrhage and a lot of babies are dying in the first week after birth. As an association we are very proud to be part of this and we are looking forward to training midwives and to save women’s lives', said Genevieve Tororo Musokwa, President of the Zambian Association of Midwives. Frances Day-Stirk, ICM President, added: ‘I hope this will turn into a global and not just a two-country initiative. I really hope we will get more partners on board and take this forward'. ICM Chief Executive Frances Ganges attended an event in Stavanger, Norway to kick-off the fundraising campaign to make 10,000 more happy birthdays. The event featured Norwegian performers as well as a panel of distinguished speakers. See the LGH website to read more about the fundraising event.