Last week, MADRE's Executive Director Yifat Susskind returned from Palestine where she visited our sister organization Midwives for Peace. While there, she was able to find out more about what has been happening on the ground.
Since we last updated you, Midwives for Peace has expanded to include ten Palestinian and ten Israeli midwives as well as several teachers and social workers. They now focus on three main aspects of work:
Organizing professional exchanges between midwives. These regular meetings give Palestinian and Israeli midwives the chance to share their expertise, build their skills and learn from each other's experiences.
Working to provide midwifery services in the West Bank. In a place where military checkpoints often obstruct freedom of movement, women are often cut off from hospitals that provide essential maternal health services. Skilled midwives help ensure that pregnant women have a safe and healthy birth experience. Aisha revealed that women in labor seeking hospital care and who travel by ambulance are often blocked at checkpoints. Even in life-threatening obstetric emergencies, women are forced to switch ambulances in order to pass through certain checkpoints.
Creating a model of women's health and human rights workshops. The leaders of Midwives for Peace are hoping to expand their work through human rights workshops that reach out to members of their communities, including pregnant women, mothers and teenaged girls facing the prospect of forced early marriage.
The professional exchanges of Midwives for Peace are critical for professional growth and training, but conditions in the West Bank make traveling to the meetings extremely difficult. Moving around the West Bank is so unpredictable that it can take a midwife anywhere from three to nine hours to reach the meeting place, depending on road conditions and the time lost at security checkpoints. This complicates participation for many women and also increases the costs.
MADRE is working to provide funding to cover the cost of transportation for midwives to attend the meetings. With your support, MADRE continues to support this vital program of professional exchanges between midwives.
The next meeting will be on June 13th. Stay tuned for more information and updates about this important work to ensure that every mother has a safe, healthy experience of childbirth.
Photo Credit: Jessica Alderman