Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I have agreed to serve on the advisory board for an amazing organizing called Earth-Birth, a model for a global women's health care collective. The pilot programs are now being set up in Uganda, Sudan and Brazil and sustained by local midwives. The organizers have a vision for holistic women's healthcare that unites women and health care practitioners in a global dialogue. Their birthing centers are not only clinics but community sustained spaces for refuge, learning and the sharing of stories. They are starting in East Africa because of the impact that years of internal genocide has had on women's reproductive and emotional health. They will then model the program in Brazil to begin the global connections in an area where the C-section rate is one of the highest in the world.

The idea is to foster an international women's health movement that encourages and promotes safe and peaceful birth as an act of social justice and community healing. They are offering a holistic approach to women's health care that is both community centered and internationally connected. Their goals include community sustainability, lowered maternal and infant mortality rates, lowered mother to child HIV transmission, access to supplies, access to trauma counseling, the ability to articulate ones story and the facilitation of positive and empowered childbirth experiences.

Check out the website at www.earth-birth.com


pinky said...

Tina: I am confused. I have checked out the sight but who are the midwifes who are arrainging this? Also it would be nice to have a Doctor involved somewhere.

I think it is a great idea and would be happy to help but I am confused by the priorities and the plan to meed their objectives.

Women are dying from childbirth all over the world. Needlessly because we have interventions for most of the problems such as excessive bleeding. It is a shame to think a woman may die because they did not have cytotec.

Rachel said...

Hi Tina,
Thanks for posting here.
Things are moving along well- and I am so excited to get a true dialogue happening with women everywhere- the idea of sharing best pracices is endlessly exciting to me.

And Pinky, I would love to address your comment.
I am one of the midwives organizing this project. We have doctors involved as much as we can (many sit on our advisory board as well as work with us internationally)- unfortunately in the areas we are working in women do not always have access to doctors- even in emergencies the closest may be 20 miles away with no car or means of getting to a hospital . The Traditional Birth Attendants who are serving these rural areas have been trained only in very basic western medical procedures that are not practical for the living enviroment of women in refugee camps. Our goals are to bolster their education with practical and culturally competant skills that will allow them to manage uncomplicated births with love and sensitivity (something that cannot be underestimated for women who are survivors of sexual trauma) and manage complications in cases where there is not access to a health unit. Our birthing centers work in tandem with the local hospitals (which are overloaded and certainly don't have access to first world medication or even training for the medical staff) but serve to fill in some of the gaps in a system that needs so much repair it is hard to know where to begin.
I am interested in why you think a woman would die because she needed cytotec- a drug which is not FDA approved and is rarely used in US hospitals anymore because of its risk of placental separation. To use it in a rural hospital where there is no ability to effectively monitor a womans contractions or perform a C-section should it be necessary because of this intervention, would in fact, be a grave mistake- one I have seen done before and hope never to have to witness again.
I hope this clears things up for you. Thank you for your interest and support.


pinky said...

Thanks for your reply. I was refering to cytotec to stop hemmorhage. It is a great drug post delivery in out of the way places because it does not have to be refridgerated such as hemabate and methergine.

I am interested in what you are trying to do and would like to learn more about it and perhaps help in your efforts. I have spoken to many OB's who are quitting delivering babies in the USA because of the insurance. However, I have discussed going to parts of Mexico and helping out with delivering babies. These OB's are really experienced and good people. It is a shame for them not to use their knowledge and expertise.

I really believe if we work at it we can make it better.

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