“Certain things are truly universal: the unadulterated joy in a four month old’s smile, the love that a mother has for her child, and the desire that parents have to ensure their children’s health and well-being.” — FAME Volunteer, Dr. Rachel Shnider.
One of the ways Africa Dream Safaris helps to support the people of Tanzania, is through our humanitarian partnership with FAME Medical. Since 2002, this organization has been saving the lives of marginalized and impoverished communities living in the most remote parts of the Karatu District and greater Arusha region. With it’s new Obstetric unit built in 2014, FAME has been able to channel support from its sponsors into ever-expanding efforts to reduce maternal mortality rates and provide pregnant women with a safe and compassionate birthing experience. Learn how funding from our guests’ safaris is helping to give back to mothers in need.
Returning medical volunteers, Dr. Monica Norwick and Dr. Mark LaRose explain the rapid growth of FAME over just a few years: “Whereas we had only 2 deliveries in 2 weeks in 2014, there are now more than 40 per month. The reputation of the staff and facility have spread so quickly that new facilities are being built for maternal and child health, and plans are being developed for a maternity wing that would include space for antepartum admissions as well as postpartum care.”
They continue to describe further expansions: “The donations that allow FAME to continue to expand have also funded an infant warmer, without which many babies might not have survived. The most astounding example is the infant born at least 12 weeks early who weighed <500 grams (1 lb 1.5 oz) at birth. We were blessed to be there the day the little one surpassed the 1 kg milestone! That is a miracle anywhere in the world, even more so in rural Tanzania. There isn’t a way to describe the joy in the mother’s smile as the nurse showed her the baby’s weight on the scale.”
Another participant, Sokoine Kipaiwa, FAME’s community outreach counselor explains the challenges of visiting local TBAs (Traditional Birth Attendants) to help educate locals about the clinic’s offerings. There is a confusion and disconnect that needs to be overcome as to why FAME would be spending its money on such poverty stricken communities.
“I remember my first visit was at Jilambo Village in the Karatu District. The RCH team and I visited one active TBA, Regina Christopher, at her own home. The first question she asked us was ‘Why is FAME visiting the TBAs? Why are you using your time and money this way?’ We thought she was going to chase us away from her home, so I had to look down and so did my fellows, and everyone was quiet. Then she said ‘We are a community of low income and so very poor that nobody ever remembers to visit you at your home.’
Then my heart began to pound, and I told her ‘Bibi, we are both human, and we were born to help each other every time in every place without minding costs and time we spend.’ We explained to her the importance of working together with the local dispensary’s health providers and home birth attendants as well. We explained the signs for pregnant women to seek help at a hospital, danger signs during labor or birth, danger signs during pregnancy and after birth, and for the newborn, and all the other services we offer at FAME. We gave her our brochures and emergency cell phone numbers.
She was delighted to hear that FAME Medical was cooperating with the TBAs and provided with us her cell phone number saying we can call her back at any time and she will help us. Finally, everyone was happy to have met with an active and experienced TBA as we start our outreach program.”
There are so many success stories of maternal and child health that we share with our guests to help empower their choice of sustainable travel by choosing Africa Dream Safaris. Many of our guests visit the FAME facility and make separate donations to support all the great work being done.
For more information on our partnership with FAME, watch this video and learn more about our humanitarian efforts.
Consider donating directly to FAME’s maternity center and we’ll leave you with this compelling video by ABC news which offers a peak inside FAME’s Maternity Center with Christy Turlington Burns of Every Mother Counts. Watch in awe of the challenges these doctors face as they save the lives of mothers and children every day: