Resilience in the Face of Despair

Daisy WinnerBlog, Liberia, Medicine

Each year between 50,000 to 100,000 women worldwide are affected by obstetric fistula, a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged labor without adequate medical intervention. Women who suffer from an obstetric fistula are left with chronic incontinence, and often, a stillborn baby. The constant leaking of urine or feces means women face humiliation and stigmatization, as they become isolated by family members, friends, and communities. It is estimated that more than 2 million young women live with untreated obstetric fistula in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. If left untreated, fistula can lead to chronic medical problems and even death, but surgery can normally repair the injury. Physician Educator, Dr. Corrine (Cori) Maund has been teaching in Liberia for the last year. Cori had never encountered a case of obstetric fistula until last September, just a few weeks after arriving … Read More

The Challenge and Heartbreak of Low-Resource Surgical Care

Daisy WinnerBlog, Medicine, Uganda, Uncategorized

Bob Goodman, an orthopedic surgeon, served from 2014 to 2015 as a Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP) volunteer educator in Uganda. Bob reflects on the difficulty and heartbreak of trying to provide the best surgical care possible in a setting where resources are unavailable for timely, safe and effective surgery. A 23 year old young woman, Angela, presented to the orthopedic clinic with a swollen left thigh and an ulcerating lesion of the bone below her knee. Her symptoms had begun many months before, and multiple tiny laceration scars on her leg were evidence of the unsuccessful treatment she had received from a traditional healer. Angela was admitted to the orthopedic service at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital. The x-rays showed destruction in her tibia and a calcified tumor on her left femur. Cultures of her wound grew Staphylococcus. The available … Read More

Safe Surgery: Essential for Wellbeing

Daisy WinnerBlog, Malawi, Medicine, Uncategorized

Surgically-treatable conditions kill close to 17 million people each year, and worldwide, five billion people do not currently have access to safe surgical care and anesthesia. In low- and middle-income countries, 9 out of 10 people cannot access even the most basic surgical services. Dr. Bela Denes, a general surgeon who has been teaching in Malawi for the last year, is dedicated to closing the gap in safe surgery and saving lives. As a Seed Global Health Volunteer, Bela has been teaching young medical students at the University of Malawi, College of Medicine, equipping them with the essential skills to perform lifesaving surgeries, even with limited resources. We asked Bela to reflect on his time as a surgeon and educator in Malawi and share his thoughts on improving access to safe surgery. What are the biggest challenges facing safe surgery … Read More

Our Communities Depend on Nurses

Eileen Stuart-Shor and James MuchiraBlog, Nursing

For the final post in our National Nurses’ Week series on nursing and the Sustainable Development Goals, Seed Global Health Chief Nursing Officer Eileen Stuart-Shor and UMass Boston PhD student James Muchira, RN, BSN respond to the following prompt: “The wealth of our nations depends on the health of our populations, and the health of our populations depends on nursing.” How does nursing lift up entire communities, in addition to the essential health care nurses provide? In Kenya and across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is rapidly rising. The emerging threat of NCDs defies a commonly-held belief that African countries are dominated by infectious diseases, malnutrition and maternal and child deaths: today, hypertension and diabetes are the leading cause of death in the Africa, with 10 to 20 million people estimated to have hypertension and 10 million people estimated … Read More

Nursing, the Work of Humanity

Aazamina SudBlog, Nursing

As part of our National Nurses’ Week series on nursing and the Sustainable Development Goals, Seed Global Health Program Manager Aazamina Sud reflects on today’s prompt: “I venture to contend that the work of nursing is one of humanity all the world over.” How can we better support fellow nurses in delivering the best care possible in any setting? As the global disease burden increasingly becomes more and more complex, nurses continue to deliver care at the front lines, day in and day out, all over the world. How can we better support them in delivering the best care possible? While nurses often make up the majority of the health workforce in many countries, they are also affected the most by critical shortages. At Seed Global Health, we build pre-service education capacity in our partner countries so that nurses new to the … Read More

Humanizing Care: How Nurses Put People First

Zack LangwayBlog, Malawi, Nursing

As part of our National Nurses’ Week series on nursing and the Sustainable Development Goals, Malawian nurse educator and Coordinator for Academic Affairs for SJOGCHS, our colleague and friend Isaac Ziba, reflected on “humanized health care” and the role of nurses in centering the human experience for a patient’s best care, with a foreword by Seed Global Health’s Julie Anathan. Foreword: The ability to provide humanized and patient centered care can be challenging within environments where human resources for health are limited. In the US we have over 9 nurses per 1000 people while in Malawi there are less than one per 1000 people. In areas of the world where there are dire shortages of nurses, the day to day responsibilities for nursing staff can be stressful and overwhelming. In these settings, how do nurses stay focused on providing holistic care?  St. … Read More

Nurses Speaking Up, Speaking Out in Tanzania

Zack LangwayBlog, Nursing, Tanzania

As part of our National Nurses’ Week series on nursing and the Sustainable Development Goals, GHSP Volunteer Olivia Kroening-Roche, CNM, interviewed Pauline Mella, a colleague at our partner institution Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, on her life’s work and how nurses can leverage their voices for action in Tanzania. === “Why I am so proud is I was able to go through that challenge. Oh, rubbish, some people said,” she explained to me as I sat across from her. “Seriously,” I exclaimed my naïveté and incredulity on display at my disbelief that anyone could oppose a degree program for nurses. “Yes,” she responded calmly, an incredible woman who has led her field with competence and confidence to the place it is today. She continued to recount to me how her initial attempts to create a bachelors program in nursing were met with resistance … Read More

National Nurses’ Week: Voices of Nurses

Zack LangwayBlog, Nursing

This week, we celebration National Nurses’ Week! Each day, we will publish a short blog related to this year’s ICN theme of nursing and the SDGs. Today, we asked for responses to this prompt: “Get to the table and be a player, or someone who doesn’t understand nursing will do that for you.” How can nurses use their voices to help advance sustainable health and development? Linda Jacobsen, our Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, weighs in on today’s question: “Nurses must see policy as something they can shape rather than something that happens to them,” according to the landmark Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.  This is especially relevant in limited resource settings, where the majority of providers are nurses and midwives.  Our ability to improve outcomes in patient care and community health is strengthened by being at the table, and … Read More

Photo Gallery: Championing Midwives in Malawi

Zack LangwayBlog, Malawi, Midwifery, Nursing

In the days ahead of International Day of the Midwife, Seed Global Health joined The Association of Malawian Midwives and several other partners to convene, empower, and champion Malawi’s midwives. More than 75 participants from across Malawi, including training institutions and students, were present for this conference. The photos below were taken by our Malawi Country Representative, Dr. Bridget Malewezi, during the gathering.

Celebrating Midwives: A Tale of Two Lindas

Daisy WinnerBlog, Featured, Malawi, Nursing, Tanzania

As we celebrate International Day of the Midwife, we reflect on the critical contributions of our Volunteer midwives to helping build the next generation of midwifery. Since 2013, Seed has placed fifteen midwives who have trained close to 2,000 individuals. These midwife educators are providing essential training to the next generation, who will in turn provide care for countless numbers of mothers and their babies. Linda Jacobsen, Seed Global Health Deputy Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Midwifery Programs, has worked in reproductive health and public health for more than thirty years. She was part of the inaugural class of Global Health Service Partnership Volunteers and taught at Bugando Medical Center in Mwanza in 2013. Linda Robinson is currently serving a Nurse Educator in Malawi and has been practicing as a nurse-midwife for thirty years, working from rural Maine to … Read More