Working with former Timorese first lady and Order of Australia recipient Kirsty Sword Gusmao through her Alola Foundation and its committed team members, Send Hope funded a pilot “Birth Preparedness Plan” for Buruma Village in Timor Leste. Chair and founder of Alola, Kirsty Sword Gusmao set up the organization in 2001 specifically to empower and support the women and girls of Timor Leste.
This program seeks to support women to have a safe delivery at their closest health facility or to be attended by a skilled birth attendant if the delivery should take place at home.
The program encourages these safe birth options by educating everyone from community leader level down to hamlet level on the need for supervised labours. It includes training for birth attendants, and education campaigns for community members – especially mothers.
The plan will also seek to better inform traditional birth attendants of the risks of having a birth at home and the danger signs during pregnancy, in delivery, and in the postpartum period.
Health facilities will be supported to increase delivery numbers and monthly community meetings will take place to inform the community on the new supports in place for safer births. There will also be more general discussions on birth spacing and basic pregnancy care.
Money will also go towards providing maternity packs at the health facilities to assist mothers and babies after the birth. Gaps in supplies across health facilities will also be filled. Some small amount will go towards the administrative costs associated with purchasing and distributing these supplies and printing information and communication posters.
The program will run over 10 months at a cost of $10,000 and if successful, Send Hope intends on working with Alola to extend its benefits across further villages.