By Julie Williams

Did you know that, in Malawi, one in every 200 women die of maternal-related complications and one in every 15 children die before the age of five? Emmanuel International Canada (EIC) is determined to beat those odds by keeping their PROMISE: PROmoting Maternal, newborn, Infant and child Sustainable health Efforts. The project is in year three of a four-year program and each $15 donation has a $100 impact.

The work in Malawi focuses on three main areas: strengthening health services, encouraging the use of health services and improving health and nutrition. EIC believes that providing Malawi’s health care system with needed equipment, supplies and training will help reduce the mortality rate of mothers and children and improve the health of those living there.

On Oct. 27, EIC hosted its annual gala at Springvale Baptist Church to increase awareness and, more importantly, raise funds for improving maternal health through the PROMISE program.  Guests were treated to international fare featuring Haitian appetizers and Filipino entrees.

Kristy Nowell, PROMISE project manager, gave a presentation updating the results to date from her recent trip to Malawi: the distribution of 26 bicycle ambulances, 24 latrines built at six health centres, 24 weigh scales, 20 measuring tapes, 29 height boards, 720 birthing kits, distribution of 13,000 fruit vines and seedlings for planting backyard gardens, dish racks and much more. A three-week training session was recently held, followed by the formation of a WhatsApp group where the trainers and participants created a forum for continued learning, mentoring and peer coaching.

Nowell displayed a screenshot of correspondence from Prince Mangani, a Malawi nurse-midwife practitioner. In the text, Mangani underscored the significant impact of the training and group support.

“Thanks (to) all the tutors for the knowledge you imparted on us,” read the note. “Yesterday, I had a breech delivery and the infant was almost dead. However, due to the skills you taught us, (I’m) a happy man to say I saved a life and the baby was not referred to Zomba Central Hospital because we managed to resuscitate the baby successfully and discharged home alive.”

The gala raised about $30,000, which translates to almost $200,000 thanks to their matching donor. Visit eicanada.org/10-maternal-health-malawi for more information or to donate.

Main photo:  Steve Jones, Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches Canada national president and keynote speaker; Jen Simcoe, Brian Simcoe from the Malawi Trip; Richard McGowan, EIC executive director; Mark Josephs, MC; Kristy Nowell, PROMISE project manager; and Jusep Sim, Chopsticks+Forks CEO. Julie Williams photos

Dinner was served up with an international flare.  Guests were treated to Haitian appetizers and Filipino entrees and desserts.

Mike and Evelyn Prentice consider their bid for limited edition pieces by local, fine-art photographer, Terry Ratcliff.