African Mothers Health Initiative

Rating: 4.94 stars   16 reviews

Issues: Health, Human Services

Location: 6808 Belford Dr Takoma Park MD 20912 USA

Mission: In Malawi maternal and infant mortality rates are among the highest in the world. Hospitals and clinics are severely understaffed, meaning that even when critically ill women and children reach a facility in time to save their lives they do not receive the care they need in time. This is a huge problem, we are a small organization doing what we can in this environment. We offer high quality personal care to those women and children we reach, prioritizing quality over quantity, and always holding up the truth that even a small difference is a significant difference especially when made with compassion and love.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I was part of a group that visited malawi and this organization. We were able to go to the villages, and see what a difference this organization makes. So many of the infants that we met would not be alive if it weren't for the African Mothers Health Initiative. It was such a great experience to be a part of, and I can't wait to go back!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Awesome experience to see what great needs are not met for so many at risk mothers and babies. So much more needs that I wish I could help with. This organization is respectful to the patient's or village situation and always keeps the culture of the patient in mind with any interaction. So much community respect was seen everywhere we went. How proud I was to see that I could help by just being there.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Keep in mind that the day for service to the patients may need to start out earlier as many are far out of town in the remote. Days start out after 9 am sometimes.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Quite well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

After having spent many years in Malawi I was excited to finally come across an organization serving a very important need in the country: the gap in clinical care for recent mothers and babies after returning from hospital childbirth to their homes. I was even more excited to find that this AMHI is extraordinarily well-managed and organized, and run by a group of dedicated and indefatigable volunteers. I joined the board of AMHI shortly after getting in touch with the founder, and feel honored to be part of the cause.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

AMHI continues to do what others cannot: provide care to Malawian mothers and babies who barely survive birth. The non-profit works in Malawi because it can make a difference there. Malawi is one of the world's poorst, least resourced countries; consequently, the death rate for mothers and babies is very high. Many Malawian women and children die in the hours and days after birth. AMHI provides postpartum nursing care because the Malawian public health system cannot provide this assistance and because no other non-profit has focused on this need. AMHI's unique model of hiring and building the capacity of Malawian nurses strengthens the country's own human health resources without depleting them. And AMHI works with communities, not only patients, to teach and empower families and villages to care for their own vulnerable mothers and babies and to prevent future maternal and child health crises. For these many reasons, I support AMHI with my time and treasure. Others wishing to make a meaningful impact should do the same.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

AMHI is an organization that has stepped into a breach of poverty and death to support maternal and child health services that no other group provides. AMHI's work is vital and compelling, and it has drawn me in. First, I volunteered for the organization and donated the occasional $50 to it. I was helping moms and babies, so why not? Then, I became the organization's Policy Advisor and would spend a couple hours a week reviewing grant applications and helping with strategy. The work was interesting and the need was great, so why not? Then, I got married and asked all my guests to donate to AMHI. I returned most of my wedding presents so I could give that money to AMHI, too. Malawian moms and babies needed the money so much more than I, so why not? Then, I joined AMHI's board and spend several hours a week on its work. I don't really have the time, but AMHI's employees, Beatrice and Joanne, have given so much of themselves to the cause, so why not? I only wish I had more time and treasure to give AMHI. Every minute and every penny have made and do make a difference.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

AMHI has empowered women in Malawi by involving mothers in their own care, and by working with communities to improve provision of perinatal care.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the knowledge that I am supporting real, immediate, and needed perinatal care for moms and babies in Malawi.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

saintly. Really. AMHI's founder, Joanne, may well be a modern Mother Theresa. She has given everything she has to AMHI.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

- provide more care to moms who are very sick postpartum. - give formula to every baby whose mother didn't survive childbirth. - hire and train more contract nurses to follow moms and their families for the first year post-delivery. - provide more nursing kits, with bandages and antiseptic, to nurses. - provide supplemental food to sick moms, to support their healing and their production of breastmilk for their infants. - develop laboring mom evacuation plans for every Malawian community, so no more moms die in childbirth.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

After spending 5 months volunteering with this organization in Malawi, I returned to the U.S. to continue my nursing career. But, I still wanted to stay involved! I have now joined the team here in the U.S. to do fundraising and promote African Mothers Health Initiative and the wonderful work they do to support high risk infants and mothers in Malawi. It is such a good way to stay grounded and remind ourselves how fortunate we are relative to many people in the world. This work really speaks to my values, one of which is summed up well in the quote "The measure of your life will not be in what you accumulate, but in what you give away". Support this group! They are amazing!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

My name is Kimberley, and I have come to Malawi “in-between jobs” to volunteer for a small non-profit organization called African Mother's Health Initiaitve based in Lilongwe, the capitol of Malawi. Unfortunately, and for a multitude of reasons, Malawi remains one of the poorest nations on earth. Maternal mortality rates are some of the highest in the world, and 12% of children die here before age 5; most of those within the first 30 days of life. Lack of nurses and doctors is beyond shortage...it is dire. There are currently less than 300 doctors practicing in Malawi, and with a population close to 13 million, that translates to about 2 for every 100,000 people. As anywhere, most care is provided by nurses, but newly trained nurses often leave the country immediately after graduation for better paying jobs abroad. This is the environment that African Mother's Health Initiative has grown from and is making a real difference for so many.

After identifying high risk mothers and babies in hospital, AMHI provides home based nursing care directly to families in remote villages around Lilongwe district. Children without a breastfeeding mother are supported with infant formula if the family is unable to afford it.

A personal story:
Working alone one afternoon at the hospital-based office during my first week, organizing folders, and sorting through cardboard boxes of donated baby clothes, I looked up to find a young doctor standing at the open door asking “Are you still open?”. “Yes”, I replied, “come in”. She explained that the hospital had had a maternal death that morning, leaving behind a two month old baby. The older parents of the mother were currently in the hospital chapel, and would take the baby with them back to their small village, but they had no money to buy formula to feed him. I felt a wave of gladness that I knew what to do and could help. I told her that she was in the right place, and assured her that I would call and pass along the information to our one of our nurses, who would go over to the chapel as soon as possible. A few minutes after the doctor left, I sat alone in the quiet room and felt a wave of another emotion; grief. The tears came suddenly to the surface and it struck me; this would be my first orphan, the mother dead just six hours. I had already learned that in this country, this baby would most likely die soon after as well without our help.

A week after the baby was enrolled in the program and formula provided, I met the him when his grandmother brought him to our office for a visit, tied snugly to her chest with a cloth, the way all women carry small babies here. He looked well, but was crying a lot and the grandmother said he had trouble feeding. The nurse did an assessment and then demonstrated formula preparation and a healthier spoon-feeding technique. Eating quickly and easily, he soon fell into a peaceful asleep. We found that this little boy had aptly been named Chiconde, meaning Love.

Everyday the work of African Mother's Health Initiative amazes and moves me. I have worked here for nearly four months now and will be returning to the States soon to be with my family. However, I cannot imagine ending my support and trust in this organization and it's work for some of the most vulnerable children imaginable.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

(see story above)

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find more donor support as well as encourage government support and participation.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Introducing me to the realities of life experienced by the majority of Malawian people as well as the sad reality of high Maternal death rates in countries like Malawi.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Inspired and dedicated

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

The African Mothers Health Initiative works to improve maternal and child health in Malawi. The organization stretches its dollars very far and gets by with the help of volunteers and very few staff.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Malawi has a significant shortage of health care workers. The African Mothers Health Initiative identifies the most vulnerable infants (orphans, multiples, premies) immediately after birth and provides supportive home based care.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-6-01

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Review from Guidestar
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 4 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

AMHI is doing wonderful grassroots work by building the capacity of a local organization to deliver much needed services to ensure quality and the continuity of care to women and their children.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Reviewing monitoring indicators of success for women and children reached.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-7-01

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

This organization is dedicated to improving maternal and child survival and health in Malawi. AMHI has achieved a great deal with limited resources through its grassroots efforts and the commitment of its volunteers, who have worked steadily toward supporting an increasing number of mothers and babies who need help to survive the consequences of maternal morbidity. AMHI is about hope and love, and the triumph of persistence for gains both great and small.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Being inspired by my indefatigable fellow volunteers (especially AMHI's founder!), and the work of the sister nonprofit that AMHI currently supports in Malawi (Joyful Motherhood).

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Review from Guidestar
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

African Mothers Health Initiative is a very small organization making life changes in the lives of women and their children. They help babies live. A few dollars to pay for eggs to improve a mothers health so that she can nurse her child and give it adequate nutrition, formula for babies, such simple and important needs. In a country where mothers and children simply do not live, the care that AMHI give to these families gives me hope.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

having met the women who run it. Their dedication inspires me.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

I was unaware of AMHI's valuable work on behalf of Malawian women until a couple of years ago,when I started dating a board member. I now count myself among AMHI's donors because I believe the organization supports services no one else provides.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The dedication and concentrated work of AMHI's board and staff.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar