When I wrote about Prudence the first time, readers reached for their wallets and asked how they could help. I’ve been thinking about it for a week, and here are some suggestions.
First, a good introduction to the world of maternal issues is the website of AMDD, the Averting Maternal Death and Disability program at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
The UNFPA is the UN Population Fund, and it’s the UN agency that engages directly in these issues. When President Bush cut $34 million in funding for it, two American women started 34 Million Friends, a group with the aim of getting 34 million people to each give $1 to make up the shortfall. So far they’ve raised $3 million, which is pretty amazing.
Some of the best grassroots work on maternal care is done by Western-sponsored clinics in Africa. Catholic hospitals sponsored by Catholic Relief Services are often the only functioning clinics around, for example, and an hour south of Prudence’s hospital we found another run by Catholic nuns that actually did provide Caesarians to indigent women. In crisis areas, Doctors Without Borders does the same. Lots of other aid groups also provide assistance that includes maternal care but within a much broader context.
Marie Stopes International focuses on reproductive health work in the developing world, and I’ve seen first hand their fine work in Kenya.
Finally, for those who insist on helping Prudence’s children or family directly, as several of you have, there is a possible avenue. Roger Seukap of the UNFPA’s Cameroon office has agreed to take any donations to them next time he goes to that part of the country. You’ll have to figure out how to transfer the money, but you can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org