We understand that the global maternal mortality problem in the rural parts of the Philippines is a phenomenon affecting some areas more than others. These areas typically suffer from a very low density of physicians. Healthcare there is maintained mainly by physician extenders such as nurses, midwives, certified birth attendants and other healthcare workers. These often highly motivated people are an asset already assuming a big responsibility. We want to support them with what they need to meet the challenges.
We believe in mothers
Healthcare is a bidirectional process: someone has to provide it and the recipient has to accept it. We believe in mothers are key for both: they are the first level healthcare provider for the family, but also the link for care acceptance from higher levels. They are important for implementation of any preventive health measure (diet, hygiene, vaccinations, etc.) at the family level. Mothers are also the link connecting families to healthcare providers when sickness occurs. As such, we consider equipping mothers to optimize their role as critical for universal healthcare.
We believe in physician extenders and Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS)
Most rural areas of developing countries have few physicians. In Philippine rural municipalities, there are often fewer than 1 physician per 10,000 people (compared with 28 in the US). Instead, physician extenders, such as nurses, midwives, certified and traditional birth attendants and other healthcare workers fill the void. Providing them with expertise is key to improving both access and healthcare. We train these physician extenders in
- basic prenatal Ultrasound (POCUS) technique for accurate dating of the expected date of delivery and for potential causes of complications, such as placenta previa or unexpected twin pregnancy.
- teaching other/ future physician extenders in the skills acquired (see below “teaching teachers”).
- teaching pregnant women effectively in preventive healthcare (diet, hygiene, vaccinations, etc.)
- ongoing quality assurance.
Increasing their expertise is the meaning behind the term “capacity building”. This gained “capacity” will
- result in consistently better care
- greater trust of the pregnant patients in their providers
- increase the attractiveness of these jobs at the location
- Increase the motivation of the entire staff.
We believe in social and cultural sensitivity
Sustainability means any improvements related to an intervention will remain in place long after the intervention is over. Our interventions last no longer than 2 years. Anything created or established during this time must be engineered in a way allowing it to continue afterwards - by local people using local support under local conditions. We understand that repeat donations or long term outside financing cause dependency. We also understand that doing for others, what they have (or could have) the capacity to do themselves, does not lead to lasting development either. Such efforts should be reserved for emergency relief, when local supply chains are disrupted and local capacity is overwhelmed. Instead, our objective is to build on existing capacity through transfer of knowledge and establishment of systems.
We believe in knowledge transfer in partnership
We teach in an atmosphere of true and mutually respectful partnership with local stakeholders (those responsible for or in charge of healthcare) at the target site. This includes local government officials such as Mayors, Governors and Medical Officers, but also the entire local medical community and faith based or nonprofit organization on site. Our partnerships are designed to increase mutual respect, understanding and foster lasting friendships.
We believe in “Training future trainers”
“Sustainability” (improvements made to last) requires the knowledge transfer we start to remain an ongoing process: As new nurses and midwives appear within the city or municipality; they need to be trained by those who have been trained before. Our training of physician extenders includes the “training-future-trainers" concept, which is the ability to pass the acquired skills on to the next generations.
We believe in Outcomes and Data
We believe in outcomes and data. Our initiatives are based on state-of-the-art healthcare data. Our focus is on outcomes. Our projects depend on metrics and data collection . We constantly look at this data to see where we have to make adjustments (= “results-based management”).
We believe in Social and cultural sensitivity
We believe that initiatives undertaken in developing countries have to be compatible with local customs, views, language and other cultural norms. Our interactions are based on mutual respect and in partnership with local stakeholders. We avoid disruptions. Instead, we favor integrating our interventions into local systems, medically, economically and socio- culturally. As a result, our mission volunteers experience true cultural enrichment through immersion and an advanced understanding of the complexities surrounding poverty in the developing world.
Maximum impact with minimum overhead – how we deal with donations
We are a team consisting of 100% volunteers. We do not afford ourselves the luxury of paid employees to keep overhead to an absolute minimum. All donations directly benefit operations. We share developments and especially specific outcomes of our missions with each donor.
We believe in UN Sustainable Development Goals for Health (SDG 3)
In 2015, the United Nations developed the 2030 agenda for sustainable development with 17 sustainable goals (SDG.) We have aligned our goals with the SDG for health (SDG 3). for maximum impact.We have aligned our goals with the SDG for health (SDG 3) for maximum impact. We focus on SDG 3.1 (reducing maternal mortality), although our efforts also support other targets, such as reducing noncommunicable diseases (SDG 3.4) or universal healthcare (SDG 3.8).