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  

1 person found this review helpful

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

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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

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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
Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

When I reached out to African Mothers Health Initiative to volunteer while traveling. I was initially impressed by their personal dedication to their mission, the promptness of their response and the flexibility with planning and utilization of my skills. My admiration only grew when I saw first hand the effects of their efforts on the ground in Malawi. The Malawian nurse staff on the ground are among the most dedicated and resourceful individuals I have had the privilege to know. I was touched over and over again by their genuineness in interactions with mothers/guardians and infants in the children in numerous village visits. The nurses delivered concrete supplies and knowledge about infant development/nutrition/hygiene to remote villages that literally make the difference between life and death one infant at a time. I have only positive things to say about my interaction with both the local staff in Malawi and in the US. Would highly recommend as a life changing experience on many levels.

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

the direct impact to infants and guardians/mothers. They received concrete supplies that are impossible to secure otherwise. They and received professional support in both knowledge and support. All women in the villages benefited as well by knowledge

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

offer more nurses to help meet the need which is larger than can currently be meet with current staff. I would also help the organization to secure the technology supplies and skills to utilize technology to track and evaluate their impact.

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

the opportunity to work with local staff who know how to create change and impact change in a culturally competent manner. Also the chance to help both in the field and in the office. They were very flexible about how I could assist.

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

Local nurses who have provided services in the local arena for decades and are driven by passion to continue to address this issue in the field.

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

Change the outrageously high infant/material death rate in the country. Increase self-sufficiency in remote villages It would also continue to be driven by local staff and input which would create multiple levels of change in communities and individuals

Ways to make it better...

It could not have been better!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Lack of funding to expand to meet the needs on the ground in Malawi.

One thing I'd also say is that...

if you want to work with an organization that is driven by local needs meet by local people this is the place. They are extremely dedicated to impact the infant/material epidemic that is facing Malawi.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Review from Guidestar