BAPS Charities donates $25,000 to One Heart World-Wide
The earthquake, and aftershocks, that struck Nepal have left behind significant damage in Kathmandu Valley and 35 of the 75 districts in the Western and Central regions. The United Nations estimates that two million women of reproductive age will be affected by this tragedy, including 126,000 pregnant women.
BAPS Charities will support One Heart World-Wide with a grant of $25,000 to provide care for pregnant women and newborns in the most severely damaged areas of Nepal. New and expecting mothers, as well as their infants, are disproportionately affected by natural disasters as they require specialized care that is not always immediately available in relief periods. BAPS Charities is supporting One Heart World-Wide to help meet the needs of these women and children. Since the late 1990s, One Heart World-Wide has been working in Nepal to decrease maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity in remote rural areas. Their model is built to work with local communities and local health providers in developing culturally appropriate birthing practices. By raising awareness around maternal and child health, teaching safe birthing techniques, and distributing essential supplies for infant deliveries, One Heart World-Wide works to ensure that mothers and newborns survive delivery and the first months of life.
Over 70% of the health facilities in Dhading and Sindhupalchok have been completely destroyed, and over 90% sustained partial damage from the earthquake. As a result, many child deliveries are conducted in unsanitary conditions and chances of death and complications are exponentially increased for both mothers and infants. Emergency relief teams have treated many cases of post-partum sepsis, one of the leading causes of death for both mothers and newborns. There have also been reports of neonatal deaths, most of which could have been prevented if pregnant mothers had access to a clean and safe birth with a skilled birth attendant. Local governments are currently looking into options to rebuild the destroyed facilities using earthquake resistant materials and structural design.
The Government of Nepal has officially requested One Heart World-Wide’s assistance in establishing temporary birthing centers, fully equipped tents, for the women of Dhading and Sindhupalchok. Each year, 16,000 pregnancies occur in these two districts. BAPS Charities will fund the procurement of 28 birthing tents.
Each tent is built to last up to five years, and includes cots, all weather covers, and solar power technology. The medical materials used to deliver safe births are donated to One Heart World-Wide by supporting nonprofit organizations.
On Tuesday, June 2nd, BAPS Charities volunteers Dhwani Shah and Pranav Patel met with Arlene Samen, Founder and Executive Director of One Heart World-Wide, to present her with the grant. “On behalf of the women and children in Nepal, we are grateful for the generosity of BAPS Charities at this very difficult time. You have my deepest gratitude,” said Arlene, who spoke with Dhwani about her inspiration to serve. Dhwani concluded their meeting by commending One Heart World-Wide on its progress, “What impresses me most about One Heart World-Wide is their ability to bring lasting change in communities while remaining aware and respectful of local Tibetan and Nepali cultures surrounding women and reproductive health.”