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CARE’s Maternal Health Blog
Congressman McDermott on CARE Learning Tour to DRC
Posted by: Katherine Porter on August 29, 2011 at 2:58PM EST
Ellen Carmichael is traveling in Rwanda and the DRC on a CARE Learning Tour, a comprehensive, multi-day tour for policymakers and those who can influence policy to gain firsthand knowledge of the core issues poor communities face. She is a field coordinator with CARE USA’s Policy and Advocacy Unit. To learn more about the Learning Tours Program, please visit: www.care.org/learningtour.
Congressman Jim McDermott (WA-7), pictured above, on CARE’s Learning Tour to the Democratic Republic of Congo visited HEAL Africa’s Safe Motherhood hospital and support group. Through providing prenatal care and micro-insurance programs, women receive health support while receiving small grants to manage childbirth costs. Funded by UNICEF, HEAL Africa’s Women’s Solidarity Groups include over six thousand members across Eastern Congo and provide training in family planning and small business management. Nearly eight hundred Solidarity Group Leaders have been trained on managing income-generating activities to help provide additional business opportunities for both the women within the group and the greater community. Congressman McDermott and the Learning Tour met with Meme Mere (We’re all Mothers) – a solidarity group comprised of 85 members – and spoke with women who received training, and are now teaching other women about reproductive health and loan management.
Kanyare Saba Saba, 35, has given birth to ten children, eight of whom have survived. During the birth of her tenth child, Kanyare Saba Saba started to hemorrhage. She had lost so much blood her family was afraid that she would die. In her rural village in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kanyare did not have access to an ambluance to take her to the nearest hospital or an OBGYN to provide her with emergency obstetric care. Fortunately, Kanyare had access to another resource: a women’s solidarity group called Meme Mere, or We’re all Mothers, headed by its president Victorine Kikiri.
Congressman McDermott and the delegation had the unique opportunity to speak directly with the women involved in this program, learning more about their daily struggles and the hope they have found through solidarity groups like Meme Mere. As Representative McDermott said: "I think every American should take this kind of trip to see up close and personal the challenges that the rest of the world faces.”