The Simiens are a designated World Heritage Site; an exotic combination of unique wildlife and breath-taking views. Gentle highland ridges, covered with grasses, isolated trees and giant Lobelia rise to an altitude of 3,600 metres above sea level.  Although there is an old unpaved road built by the Italians to the west of the park and a new Chinese road currently under construction to the south, the interior is still only accessible by foot or mule. Accessing healthcare services remains low due to poor health awareness as well as the physical challenge of reaching the nearest health center which may require a day or more, by mule, on foot or by stretcher, over long distances, across difficult mountain terrain due to the lack of roads and transportation. These barriers contribute to a life of poor health and too often result in needless deaths from treatable diseases and conditions. 88% of Simien women still give birth at home, without a professional midwife, due the lack of health awareness and barriers to accessing healthcare services. The expected 28,650 births this year will result in death for more than 190 mothers and 1,490 newborns due to lack of access to professional midwifery services.

 

The Simien Mountains Mobile Medical Service (www.facebook.com/Simien-Mountains-Mobile-Medical-Service)  began in 2011 after trekking in the Simiens and observing the poor state of health and the lack of healthcare services. Their solution was to help fill critical gaps, build capacity and promote better standards in healthcare. They built a clinic, deployed mobile medical teams to remote communities, trained 14 BSc midwives who are now serving in local health centres, and established “Doctors for the Simien Mountains” to bring in doctors to work in the project area. Their mobile medical teams reach 30 of the most remote communities in the Simien Mountains and see over 3,000 patients and provide health education to more than 5,000 family members each month. Their clinic provides essential health services to more than local 14,400 residents and treats roughly 750 patients, including 24/7 emergency care and deliveries, each month. 27% of local women now deliver at the clinic, compared to 11% across the region, but there are still barriers to overcome.

 

Building a maternal waiting home at our clinic will allow expectant mothers from remote communities to come to the clinic one to two weeks prior to their delivery and stay in a supported environment where they can be monitored for any risks or complications, and if necessary evacuated to the regional hospital, in order to ensure a safe delivery. This has proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming the main physical and economic barriers to accessing professional delivery services.

 

They recently launched a new “CaringCrowd” campaign, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, to raise $9,800 usd to build a new mother’s waiting home, at their clinic.  If you make a donation, Johnson & Johnson will help by matching any donations. We would like to ask for your help in getting the word out and hopefully generating support for their much-needed campaign: https://www.caringcrowd.org/provide-safe-childbirth-expectant-mothers-ethiopia. Baby clothes for their clinic are also collected through www.packforapurpose.org

Thanks to Limalimo Lodge www.facebook.com/limalimolodge for this information and for their own pledge to help this great cause!