Lucress and Dick Watson Children’s Foundation Supports the Caring Response Madagascar Foundation
I am quoting a letter from Virginia R. Wiltse, Director Caring Response Madagascar Foundation to the Lucress and Dick Watson Children’s Foundation, thanking the Watson foundation for their generous support in their Caring Response Program in Madagascar. Quite a nice letter of thanks from an organization to a foundation that has made a great difference for their program.
"Last summer the Watson Foundation partnered with Caring Response Madagascar Foundation as part of our “Saving the Lives of Mothers and Babies” project. In November, following theimplementation of our training program at the Ankirihiry Clinic, I wrote to let you know that our visit and training program were off to a successful start. Today, I was prompted to recall again your role in our project because the UN’s Office of Humanitarian Affairs just released a report that confirms the importance and the value of the donation you made to us last year. And so this letter comes by way of thanking you once again and offering you an interim report on the impact of the donation you made to the Ankirihiry Clinic.
The report from the UN that arrived in my e-mail box this morning indicates that while
“traditional childhood killers” such as measles, pneumonia, diarrhea and even malaria have declined in recent years, “mortality in the first month of life looms ever larger.” The article quotes statistics from a study done at Johns Hopkins University that shows that, “worldwide, around 40 percent of children who die below the age of five die in the first month of life.” And this report is what made me think of
you this morning because your donation last year to the Ankirihiry Clinic gave the midwives there precisely the tools they need to combat those early deaths.
Here is one clear example that demonstrates how the Watson Foundation has helped to save the lives of newborns. Infections in newborns often originate at the site where the umbilical cord is cut.
When our team arrived at the Ankirihiry Center last year, the cords of newborn babies were being cut using scissors and unsterilized sewing thread. Dr. Carol Egner taught the midwives to clamp the babies’ cords in a hygienic manner using cord clamps provided by the Watson Foundation. She emphasized the importance of cord care and insisted on the use of cord clamps rather than sewing thread to tie off the umbilical cord. Last month, I reviewed several hundred delivery charts sent from the Ankirihiry Clinic along with the utilization list of medications and supplies that we provided to the
clinic. Hundreds of cord clamps have been used since our departure! What is truly significant about this data is that the availability of the cord clamps donated by the Watson Foundation has made possible a behavior change among the midwives at the clinic and this change supports survival for newborn babies.
Think of the impact of your donation! You sent a thousand plastic cord clamps at a cost of less than $60.00 and this investment is paying huge dividends! The most recent medical literature indicates that a simple application of antibiotic cream on a clean-cut umbilical cord could reduce infection even further. This additional practice is one we hope to introduce when we return to Madagascar in September.
I offer two other examples of the importance of your contribution. Last fall, our medical team taught the midwives at Ankirihiry Clinic how to start IVs to supplement the fluid levels for laboring and post-partum women. The Watson Foundation provided the Ringer’s Lactate IV solution that is now being used at the clinic to stabilize and save the lives of new mothers. The latest report from the UN indicates that maternal infections are not only passed to newborns but also contribute to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and low birth-weight babies. Antibiotics sent last fall by the Watson Foundation, specifically ceftriaxone, are now being used to treat maternal infections.
Never doubt for a moment that the donation of medications and supplies that you sent to Madagascar last fall has, indeed, saved the lives of mothers and babies! I believe that I sent you this link via e-mail last December, but if you have not had an opportunity to view the video that we posted on YouTube describing the project, you can find it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPVRP-i8HqE or by going to YouTube.com and searching: CRMF Mother Baby Video. I am also attaching some photos to this letter."