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  • 75

  • $ 5,110

    pledged of $ 4,500 goal
  • 4240

    days ago
  • Funded!

    This project was successfully funded.

  • This project was successfully funded on 2012-10-15

About our project

Note: All rewards on this project are Tax Deductible.

In the Dominican Republic, thousands of women are suffering from preventable or easily treatable gynecologic problems. Many women can’t get health care because they live in rural areas that are far from hospitals and they don’t have the resources to travel to cities for care.

The Maternal Mortality Ratio in the Dominican Republic 150 per 100,000 live births. This is almost 12 times the US rate. No wonder, since there are only 19 physicians for every 100,000 people in the DR (whereas the US has almost 15 times as many!)

Saving Mothers is a US-based nonprofit organization. We have partnered with ILAC (the Institute for Latin American Concern) in the DR in order to provide the resources and training crucial for rural community health workers to offer basic, but critical gynecologic care. But we need your help!

Who is Saving Mothers?

Saving Mothers is a 501©3 nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of women around the world. We believe health care is a human right of every woman and we work to provide education, outreach and medical-surgical care in rural areas where women have no access to health care.

By working side-by-side with local health care providers, the sustainability of our programs is assured – when we leave, the programs continue. Our projects have been active in Guatemala, Liberia and New York City for over four years.

Our Project in the Dominican Republic

In October, we will provide free surgical treatment to underserved rural women in the Dominican Republic. These rural villages are 4 to 5 hours from the nearest health center and many of the women there have never seen a doctor. The women are the cornerstone of their communities – they give birth, raise children and care for the entire family often at the expense of their own health.

In the poorest rural communities of the Dominican Republic, community health workers called cooperadores are the only link to health care for thousands of the women in the hard-to-reach rural villages surrounding Santiago.

In early August, our Saving Mothers team traveled to Santiago to partner with these community health workers. We taught 160 cooperadores how to identify women with incontinence, pelvic organ prolpase and abnormal pap smears through survey screening with validated Spanish questionnaires. The health workers returned to the rural villages they serve and are currently identifying women with these surgical needs.

In partnership with a local community hospital, ILAC, and its providers, our team will provide medical and surgical care to women identified by the cooperadores.

The first day, a preoperative screening day, will be spent evaluating the 150 to 200 women the cooperadores identified and correlating their findings to our clinical exam. We will use this opportunity to gather feedback to help improve future patient screening. The surgical procedures will be done in conjunction with surgeons and residents in the Dominican Republic in order to also train them to perform these procedures when we have left. The cooperadores will accompany each woman to ILAC and stay with her throughout the surgery and post-operative period.

More specifically, we will:

  • Fit women with pessaries, a medical device used to help lift the bladder and/or uterus in order to prevent loss of urine and relieve discomfort from pelvic organ prolapse.
  • Perform surgeries, including urethral slings, fistula and prolapse repair and excision of abnormal cervical cells

Why the Dominican Republic?

Every year around the world more than half a million women die of childbirth-related complications and approximately 10 million women suffer from birth-related injury, infection or disease.

99% of these deaths are in low-resource countries and although preventable, are often caused by infringements upon the basic rights of women to life, health, information, equality, education, and adequate healthcare.

Although known to many as the tropical paradise vacation destination next door, many people in the Dominican Republic struggle to survive.

The Facts:
*40% of population in the DR lives below the poverty line
*80% of the population does not have sanitation services
*Infant mortality rate is 31 per 1000 live births (compared to US, 7 per 1000)
*One third of people live in rural areas. Health care professionals and facilities are more likely to be located in urban areas making care hard to access.Compared to urban populations, rural populations have higher rates of poor health and a higher proportion of children under 5 years old with acute and chronic malnutrition.

How Will We Spend Your Contributions?

  • Partnering with us = free care for rural, underserved women in need!
  • All of the medical and surgical care we provide is free for our patients and our team works on a completely voluntary basis.
  • We need your help to obtain surgical supplies, transport our team and supplies to the DR, bring patients to our site and run two operating rooms!
  • All of your funds will go directly toward transport and administering patient care.

Who are the women in need?

Imagine you are an elderly woman, living by yourself in a remote town in the Dominican Republic. You live in a small plank and tin house without running water and only intermittent electricity. You live hand to mouth, and only through the aid of your neighbors and distant relatives can you afford food and basic expenses. You have never seen a doctor. Your only link to health care has been the new village Cooperadore de Salud, a young woman who was chosen by the community to receive training in basic health care from ILAC.
Each year, the cooperadore gives you a checkup and asks about any new health issues. You are anxiously awaiting her return this year. Over the past few years, you have been losing urine when you cough or sneeze, but it has recently gotten so bad that you feel ashamed to leave the house. Now you feel constant pressure and even lose urine when you bend to perform chores. Last year, during the checkup you discussed this problem with the cooperadore, but didn’t have the money to travel to the city and see a doctor.
This year, you will tell the cooperadore that you can no longer live with this problem and see if she has any suggestions. You have heard rumors of a new organization, Saving Mothers, coming to work with ILAC and hope they might be able to help.

Who are our Partners?

Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Global Women’s Health Division combines resident education with real world charitable care in order to establish sustainable programs, improve access and availability of services, reduce maternal morbidity and mortality, and educate and train providers around the world to deliver quality women’s health care.

ILAC (Institute for Latin American Concern), is a 501c (3) organization founded in Santiago, Dominican Republic in the 1970’s as an international collaborative, healthcare and educational organization. They provide community-based outreach programs and host medical-surgical missions for underserved people in over 180 remote villages and rural communities throughout the Dominican Republic.

American Medical System, Inc’s Giving Charitable Grant Program whose mission is to improve global pelvic health disease state education and awareness; to broaden access to care for valuable pelvic health treatments; global disaster relief with a health care focus; and empowering our employees to give back to our community.

AmeriCares Medical Outreach Program which supplies medicines and medical supplies to U.S.-based health care professionals who travel overseas to provide volunteer medical care to people in desperate need of help.

MAP International Ethicon Medical Mission Pack. In partnership with Ethicon, MAP International provides medical device products to physicians who use their professional skills and volunteer their time to participate in overseas medical missions. Products are used in charitable treatment of the ill, needy, and infants in developing countries which have a demonstrated need.

AFYA Foundation is a medical supply recovery and recycling organization which obtains and ships supplies necessary to support medical and surgical initiatives worldwide. All supplies are donated or gathered from hospitals, surgical centers and corporations.

Our wonderful volunteers! including our awesome anonymous web helper!

Caban-Martinez AJ, Halder GE, Tellechea L, Fajardo M, Kaltman J, Anand J, Prendes S, Penyak V, Koganti D, Chavoustie S, Fleming LE. Health status and behaviors among adults residing in rural Dominican Republic. Rural Remote Health. 2012;12:1956. Epub 2012 May 15. PubMed PMID: 22591172


For $ 2 or more

6 Supporter(s)

FOR THE SURGICAL MISSION: 5 packages of surgical suture. FOR YOU: We will tweet about your support for our work from our Saving Mothers site!

For $ 30 or more

10 Supporter(s)

FOR THE MISSION: 5 packages of suture AND 1 pessary - a medical device placed in the vagina that prevents prolapse or incontinence in women. FOR YOU: Tweet of your support! OR....... FOR THE MISSION: 5 packs of suture FOR YOU: One Saving Mothers T-Shirt & Tweet

For $ 50 or more

8 Supporter(s)

FOR THE MISSION: Round-trip transport for 5 rural women to attend the pre-screening day & to return for needed surgery AND 5 packs of suture AND 2 packs of sterile surgical drapes. FOR YOU: Tweet of your support!

For $ 100 or more

7 Supporter(s)

FOR THE MISSION: 1 duffle bag from AFYA Foundation stuffed with essential surgical care items. FOR YOU: Tweet!

For $ 150 or more

1 Supporter(s)

FOR THE MISSION: 10 packages of suture, 5 packs of sterile surgical drapes, 5 scalpels and 5 urinary catheters. FOR YOU: Your profile (name, photo, quote) on our “Wall of Donors” on the Saving Mothers site AND 2 Saving Mothers buttons AND Tweet!

For $ 250 or more

2 Supporter(s)

FOR THE MISSION: The same surgical instruments as for $150 plus 2 suburethral slings to treat stress urinary incontinence. FOR YOU: Your profile (name, photo, quote) on our “Wall of Donors” on the Saving Mothers site AND Tweet!

For $ 500 or more

0 Supporter(s)

FOR THE MISSION: 1 roundtrip airline ticket for a US team member to travel to the site in the DR with 2 extra luggage bags full of supplies.... FOR YOU: A colorful surgical scrub cap to remind you of the surgeries you are funding AND a Saving Mother Blog Post. Write a blog post regarding issues facing women around the world or global health! We will put your post on our website, blog, and link it to your personal blog. Issues can include Global Maternal Health, Women’s Human Rights or other women’s health topic you are passionate about.(*subject to approval by Saving Mothers team – our website is family-friendly) AND Your profile (name, photo, quote) on our “Wall of Donors” on the Saving Mothers site AND Tweet

For $ 2500 or more

0 Supporter(s) Limited (3 left of 3 )

FOR THE MISSION: Full travel and care costs for 50 rural women to obtain needed treatment. FOR YOU: Be an honorary member of our Saving Mothers team- attend our quarterly meetings in NYC, hear about the specifics of our medical programs, learn how our non-profit coordinates medical work in the field and share your ideas.

For $ 4500 or more

0 Supporter(s) Limited (1 left of 1 )

FOR THE MISSION: Complete operating room costs for the entire trip, including supplies. FOR YOU/ YOUR COMPANY: Be an Official Sponsor! We'll link to your website from & create a separate "Official Sponsor" page on our Wall Of Donors page AND give you rights to a picture of our team during the trip, saying thank you to you or your company.

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