Saving Babies, Saving Lives

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16-06-2017
The Vicente Ferrer Foundation USA (VFF USA) is thrilled to announce the save-the date for our annual gala, “Recipe for Empowerment” as October 6th, 2017.
15-06-2017
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Eighty young women gather at the community center in Settur, India, alongside rural health care workers from the Vicente Ferrer Foundation. 
 
The women — all pregnant — speak little and smile demurely. Although many of them may be young enough to still be in school, their recent marriage has pulled them out of classrooms and into their new roles as wives and mothers. Latha, 19 years old and expecting her first baby, is nervously waiting to learn more about pregancy with the group. It is common practice in India for families to come together to make decisions about the best care for expectant mothers. 
 
VFF believes that  creating healthy families begins with education at a young age. In India, women who don’t seek out prenatal care tend to be the rural poor, illiterate, or older. They can neither afford to see a doctor nor buy medicine. Just getting to a health center can be challenging.
 
It is recognized around the world that  that better care for women during pregnancy and childbirth cuts down on maternal deaths and improves child survival. Our hospitals demonstrate to the community that most problems experienced by pregnant women can be prevented. Giving to VFF’s prenatal program gives these women access to high-quality care when it matters most.
 
 
If you are inspired by VFF’s work on behalf of women and children, please join our Thunderclap social media campaign to spread the word about our organization. You can help us with just one click here.
 
The room in Settur is filled with women from two distinct generations. Latha is seated beside her mother-in-law as her own mother lives about 60 kilometers away. Throughout rural India, mothers and mothers-in-law determine when their pregnant daughters should go to the hospital for check-ups and childbirth. 
 
There are many traditions around childbirth and fertility in India. Some include superstitions that can be harmful to the health of both mothers and babies. Most notably, women who are pregnant are often not given supplemental vitamins as they are not a part of the traditional care thought to be beneficial to village pregnancies. 
 
Custom in rural areas typically ensures that men and boy eat before women and girls. There are no exceptions for new mothers and the malnutrition rates during this delicate time pose many challenges for the health of mothers and babies.  The older generation is in control of all decision making regarding doctors visits and often seeks to save money and perform in home births and avoid check ups. 
 
Latha’s mother-in-law, Thimakka, recalls,  "I married after my first period I had my three children at home and never heard anything about a hospital. Now times have changed, and I'm glad I came here.”