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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

African Mothers Health Initiative

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community Health Systems, Health, Human Services, Patient & Family Support

Mission: African Mothers Health Initiative's mission is to assist in the improvement and the quality of health of mothers and children in Malawi, Africa.

Results: Studies in the region have documented mortality rates of 20% among multiples (twins and triplets) and up to 80% among infants orphaned at birth. Within our baby care program, our mortality rate is currently 4%, which is equal to the general under-5 mortality rate in Malawi. This is one huge step forward and we continue to seek ways to reduce this even further. In addition to getting nurses to care for the women in our mother care program, we also provide each woman with a modest capital to start a personal income generating program. In our discharge interviews, women have told us that this has helped their family in general.

Target demographics: vulnerable infants and critically sick women after deliveries

Direct beneficiaries per year: 424 infants and women

Geographic areas served: Malawi, Africa

Programs: the baby care program and mother care programs. Maternal and infant mortality remain unacceptable high and there are certain groups of infants and women who face even greater risks to their health and survival than their peers. AMHI partners with Chimwemwe mu'bereki (Joyful Motherhood), a Malawian NGO to ensure that these individuals receive the home based nursing care they need to survive and return to health. Our programs are designed specifically for infants orphaned at birth, multiples, and very low birth weight babies as well as for women who have survived "near-miss" or catastrophic births (severe infection, eclampsia, severe anemia, postpartum psychosis, etc.) Malawian nurses enroll women and babies who fit our criteria from Lilongwe District and then visit them in their homes. At each visit, they provide health assessments, health education, assist with community mobilization and delivery supplemental food items. Babies receive regular visits up to age 2 and women receive up to 6 postpartum visits.

Community Stories

29 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

KateRobinson

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

AMHI is a truly remarkable organization. If you want your donation to truly matter- to save lives- you should give to AMHI. Save the life of a baby. Save the life of a mother. There's no question of the need for pre and perinatal care in Malawi, but the way in which the need is addressed matters. AMHI is effective in their service delivery, achieving impressive outcomes, and unafraid to look closely at their data and learn from it. This is an organization in partnership with the community it serves. One that is deeply committed to improving every day so that with your- our- help they can save more babies and their moms.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

AMHI is providing a valuable service to some of the most vulnerable members of the Malawian society. As someone who has followed the work of AMHI through the years, it is wonderful to see how many lives the work AMHI has positively impacted let alone saved. I look forward to continue to follow and support the work AMHI and its local NGO are doing.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a pediatrician who works with vulnerable children, I am very impressed by this nonprofit. They have a strong commitment to infant and maternal health and even though it is a small organization they are able to make a big impact in infant mortality in Malawi. They work well with the existing health care framework and utilize local nurses to carry out this important work.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

AMHI is an excellent nonprofit that I am excited to support. As an obstetrician who has worked in Malawi, I can say firsthand that the work of AMHI has been lifesaving and transformative for countless mothers and babies. The organization is thoughtfully run, led by local healthcare professionals, and driven by identified needs on the ground. Joanne Chiwaula (founder) is truly one of the most inspiring, dedicated, and thoughtful humans I know, as well as an accomplished nurse midwife. In addition to the countless number of stories of families that have been assisted, a recent peer-reviewed manuscript highlights the program’s scope and effectiveness. I cannot speak more highly of AMHI!

Donor

Rating: 5

I donate to this vital non profit because the goal is to support very frail new born infants and surviving mothers. The service is provided by nurses native in Malawi. Evaluation and education in health and nutrition are responsible for AMHI success. Next goal should be in prenatal care in local areas. Please donate to move toward healthy Malawi.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been able to witness firsthand the relentless and loving commitment AMHI has to caring for and saving the lives of Malawi’s most vulnerable babies and critically ill mothers. Every effort, every initiative and every donation is dedicated to making a difference.

1 John B.14

Donor

Rating: 5

I've met Joanne Chiwaula and two of the board members, and worked with them frequently over the years as they fundraised. Joanne and I were together on a panel at South by Southwest, where I learned even more about AMHI, how and why it was founded and is managed.
I continue to be ever more impressed by the qualifications, professionalism and dedication, the local knowledge (e.g. Joanne lived and worked in Africa many years and is married to a Malawian), their continuing trainings and hiring of Malawian nurses and midwives who understand the local culture and society, the humility and heart of everyone involved with AMHI....
And this is also one of the most efficient nonprofits I've ever known.
Their model works! It saves and changes many lives. I look forward to seeing it scale.
It's an honor to have frequently donated myself as well, and be involved in AMHI's life-saving work.

Donor

Rating: 5

Seeing the updates on their webpage and Facebook site is really great! Thanks AMHI for all the information and services provided.

Donor

Rating: 5

The African Mothers Health Initiative works to improve maternal and child health in Malawi. The organization has dedicated volunteers and a small staff who are trying to bring healthcare to this underserved area of Africa.

Board Member

Rating: 5

African Mothers Health Initiative provides early post discharge home-based nursing care to Malawian mothers who experienced ‘near miss deliveries’ such as those complicated by eclampsia, severe hemorrhage and subsequent anemia, sepsis, ruptured uterus, as well as infants who are most likely to die in early infancy (i.e. orphans, multiples, low birth weight). The women receive up to six nursing visits and infants are followed up to their second birthday. In addition to the in-home care and services, nurses meet with community members to enlist support, provide related health education, and create emergency action plans. This grassroots nonprofit, founded in 2008 is dedicated to serve the greater Lilongwe community who are grateful for the lifesaving care that is provided by the nurses. Nearly 1500 infants and 500 mothers have been served since the inception of the program. The organization is supported by a committed group of board members based in the US as well as on the ground in Malawi and a pool of individual donors, demonstrating that it is a viable model to address the unmet need for home-based care for high risk infants and postpartum women in Malawi.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I had the fortune of visiting AMFI in Malawi. It was an experience that will stay with me forever. AMHI exemplifies the depth of compassion, care, and clear and necessary supports that all babies deserve. It is a lean organization with a very streamlined budget that prioritizes necessities for infants to stay alive and does so thru a process that is culturally responsive and reflective of the local communities they serve.

Melinda McNiel L.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

AMHI is a small organization that makes a big impact amount some of Malawi’s most vulnerable populations, newborns and orphans. AMHI invests in local staff and practitioners to deliver culturally appropriate, sustainable services that improve the quality of life for both recipients and workers in the area.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm a midwife in the United States and had the pleasure of working with the midwife-founder of AMHI when she was a student. Her commitment and enthusiasm are inspiring. A mutual friend and colleague has been to Malawi to see the work firsthand that AMHI is doing and could not say enough positive things about it. It's always on my annual donation list!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
9

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

1 Kimberley

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

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.

Review from Guidestar

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

10

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I had a challenging pregnancy and delivery and while I was on bedrest I had the priviledge of learning more about the African Mothers Health Initiative. This non-profit inspired me to be thankful for what I had surrounding me in my situation, but it also brought awareness to both me and me family, that my tough moments pale in comparison to what the African Mothers Health Initiative deals with on a regular basis. Due to the local environment in Malawi, access to technology, and healthcare costs, the mortality rate of both infants and their mothers is extremely high after birth. African Mothers Health initiative works hard to better the chances of survival by primarily raising money to supply formula as well as doctors and nurses to these families. For example, right now they have one nurse covering more than 100 babies and do not have adequate transportation. They desperately need funds for more staff as well as a better vehicle in order to quickly provide more care. There are few, if any, organizations like the African Mothers Health Initiative, addressing these specific problems. I was personally moved with the interactions I had with the genuine people managing the non-profit. Additionally, I was touched by the many stories of how mothers and their babies could really have a much better chance at life because of what the African Mothers Initiative offers.

Review from Guidestar

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organisation is working very well with the Malawian community and is a necessary service to babies and families where the mother has died in childbirth. There is a long term committment for supporting and educating the families. The local government hospital offers a referral service where the staff can communicate with the families and community care team. Also the mothers who have had more than one baby are followed up and extra milk supplies as the infant death rates are high in multiple births. This initiative is invaluable for the families in the Lilongwe district.

Review from Guidestar

11

Board Member

Rating: 5

I met the founder of AMHI, Joanne, 11 years ago. We worked together and although our career paths diverged we kept in contact. Three years ago, on her way back from working in Malawi she stopped by and told me about some of the work she was doing following infants whose mothers died in childbirth and caring for moms who were severely ill after childbirth. She said people from all over were inspired and had offered their support. She questioned the idea of starting a nonprofit and I told her I would do anything to make it a reality. I knew if there was one woman who could make a difference, it was Joanne. I am continuously inspired by Joanne's humility and humanity. She has empowered Malawian women to care for those in need and she has chosen to work with those who demonstrate great compassion. I am proud to be a part of the organization not just because of the number of lives that have been positively impacted by AMHI's support but more so that the work has been done in a sensitive and culturally appropriate manner.

Review from Guidestar

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar