Tuesday 26 March 2019

All Pregnant Women Deserve Good Care #DifferentPathChallenge

{This is a collaborative post}

When you're pregnant and expecting a baby, the one thing that every woman wants is for that baby to be born healthy, in a safe environment.  We all share in this basic right, every woman being the same. Where you live shouldn't be a factor as to whether that child lives or dies, or in fact, whether you live or die. There is recourse for you, your child, and your family should the unthinkable occur and result in a birth injury. Should that happen, it is important to know that there are empathetic Birth Injury Solicitors in this country who are available to guide you and help you every step of the way.

In Togo, West Africa, 1 in every 20 babies (1) will die before their first birthday. This is the equivalent of you going to your local toddler group and knowing that one or two of those babies won't be here in the next year. Just think how shocking that would be, thankfully in the UK, it isn't every week we hear of a baby dying.

In the UK our figures are quite different, with only 1 in 250 babies (1) not surviving their first birthday. So what's the difference, why are those babies in Togo not surviving? The quick answer is poverty, most families can not afford to access good healthcare or buy enough food. This means birth complications, infections and malnutrition are responsible for claiming far too many little lives.

I don't want to linger on these sad facts for too long though, as us being sad doesn't actually help anyone. What does help, is us using what we have to donate to programs that make a difference to these mothers. Compassion (a charity I have been supporting on a monthly basis for around 15 years) has 1520 Child Survival projects worldwide, with 52 of these being in Togo.

Compassion’s Child Survival projects aim to reach the most vulnerable children even before they have been born. In partnership with the local church, Compassion provides antenatal care for vulnerable mothers, ensures babies are vaccinated against deadly diseases, and gives mothers the skills they need to earn a living. The projects also offer life-saving assistance including basic healthcare, hygiene and sanitation, nutritious food and safe water, as well as mentoring, support, and spiritual guidance for families.

Different Path Appeal
Compassion UK's Different Path appeal was launched yesterday. Donations made to this appeal will be used to help mothers and babies in Togo access life-saving medical support, health screening, hygiene supplies, nutritional supplements, and education that will help secure a healthy future for them and their families.

This appeal is being supported by UK Aid. If you give before 24 June 2019 your donation will be doubled by the UK government, then Compassion will be able to support even more mothers and babies – giving them a different path forward.

Almost 1 in 2 women in Togo do not get to attend the four advised pre-natal checks, often the only reason being that they can't get to the clinic. The average woman needs to walk around 4 miles in temperatures of up to 35 degrees centigrade, carrying around 2.5kg (that's the average weight of a baby born in Togo).

Or if they are lucky enough to have twins they may be carrying far more than that. Take a look at this picture of me 36 weeks pregnant with my twins. Just imagine how heavy my belly was, look at my face and you'll see how tired I was.  I had pre-eclampsia and was actually an in-patient at the local hospital at this stage (can you see my hospital wrist band) but they would let me out for a couple of hours a day to be with my toddler if I promised to relax.

I was lucky enough to have a fabulous dad who would drive me around each day. These women in Togo have no transport to rely on, but for just £19, Compassion could safely transport a pregnant woman to an antenatal clinic for a vital check-up.

Different Path Challenge
Compassion asked me to put myself in the shoes of one of these pregnant women in Togo. They got me to fill my backpack with 2.5kg and then wear it on my front to mimic pregnancy and take a 4-mile walk. Let me assure you that by the end of mile two I could really feel the weight in that backpack and realistically it is nothing like the women in Togo feel as it was 10 degrees here when I was walking last week and I could move the backpack if it was too uncomfy. You can't move a pregnant belly, nor reduce the temperature. 

These were the contents of my backpack, to weight it

How can you help?
You can help save lives, by texting TOGO to 70660 to donate £10, or by visiting www.compassionuk.org/differentpath to make a donation (Terms & conditions for text giving can be found on here). Give before 24 June 2019 and the UK government will double your donation, so Compassion can help even more families.

Or if you fancy helping to raise awareness, do the same challenge as me, put 2.5kg in a backpack and walk 4 miles, remembering to share your journey across social media so that others are aware of the #DifferentPathChallenge

Why not pin this post for later?

Different path appeal pin

Sources:  (1) https://data.unicef.org/country/tgo/

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