G.O.D. Intl’s Nashville headquarters newly renovated one of its classrooms into the now Public Health Education Center (PHEC), equipped with a maternal and public health library, an infectious disease lab, and a full classroom.
Rosemary Sherrod spends time with an Indian "dai" (village midwife) named Raja. In India, government policies are pushing women towards hospitalized birth. Raja, despite language barriers, shows Rosemary the proof of her competence, in the form of the mothers who trust, and want, and deserve, her care.
Maternal and infant health play a fundamental role in our development work. Women and children are the most vulnerable members of society. Most often, they don’t receive attention they deserve in regards to their development, and especially their health. For the last decade, women at G.O.D. Int’l have been responding to this vast need by becoming the very resources needed to help combat the problem.
In Nashville, the number of foreign-born residents has more than doubled over the last decade. Immigrants and refugees face a variety of challenges, but one that is often overlooked is navigating an American hospital during birth, in a different language, a foreign culture, far away from loved ones. Doulas from NOVA Birth Services, and doulas-in-training at the Institute for G.O.D.'s Childbirth Education Certification program offer a number of doula and childbirth education services to immigrants and refugees free of charge.
Tara Garner, Director of the Childbirth Education Certification program at the Institute for G.O.D. International, and NOVA Birth Services, writes an overview of our first 100 births in the G.O.D. community. She compares the statistics in the US to what we have experienced, and the results are astounding. We consider the success of these first 100 births a preview of what is possible for others, particularly mothers in the third world, for whom our birth workers are training.
According to World Health Organization, of all the need existing around the world in the field of healthcare, the most critical shortage of workers is not doctors, nurses, or dentists, but midwives. When women in developing countries don’t have a midwife to ‘be with’ them in pregnancy, birth and after delivery, their chance for survival is bleak, as is their unborn child’s. When mothers die prematurely, husbands are left widowed and children orphaned and the unrelenting cycle of poverty repeats.
As birth workers, we are training up doulas and midwives of faith who, in the most hopeless situations, choose to demonstrate faith and love. We will be servants who can enter the most dire environments with mother and baby and, along with the presence of God, change the atmosphere and bring with us an air of peace and security.
The NOVA program accepted seven new students in January of 2013, many of them with occupational pursuits that support and strengthen the work of the skilled birth attendants. While one of the purposes of this program is to produce more educated and skilled birth attendants, it is also our hope to produce women with knowledge and skills regarding the birth process to operate in the many sectors in society in which women and children find themselves.
In the spring of 2010, the Institute for G.O.D. Int’l started a Childbirth Education (CBE) certification program. This CBE program exists to counter poor maternal and infant mortality worldwide through education. 5 instructors have been educating 8 students, who are now completing their practicum, through which they have the opportunity to serve refugee women, as pregnant and laboring refugee women are among the most needy and vulnerable people in the Nashville area.
Every minute of every day, a woman dies in childbirth. 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries. Africa is the most dangerous place to be a woman of childbearing age; there, 1 in 16 women die in childbirth. On the other side of these statistics are people just like you and I: children losing their mothers, men losing their wives. Women dying of preventable causes.