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A child being held by a CMMB health care worker.
Samantha Ouellette

Samantha Ouellette

As Senior Associate of Marketing and Communications at Global Impact, Sam works with the Managing Director of Marketing and Communications to manage digital content across the organization. Her main projects include developing social media, managing newsletters and email campaigns, handling website content, and dabbling in graphic design. Raised in the DMV by two New Englanders, she spends her time complaining about hot weather, exploring trails with her dog, keeping her dozens of succulents alive, and trying to squeeze in time to write recreationally on the side.

By
Samantha Ouellette
Photo Credit
Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB)

The world is a different place now than it was just a few months ago, and we’re finding ourselves surrounded by negative news and scary numbers. As people in countries across the globe shutter their stores, close their schools and stay inside, reality feels difficult to accept and harder to escape.

But while we’re facing troubled times, one thing never changes – good things are still happening. People are standing together in solidarity leaving messages of hope for one another, applauding our hospital staff and more! Health workers fearlessly remain at the front lines, fighting to curb the spread of COVID-19. Volunteers find ways to still safely serve populations in need. Companies pivot their strategies and resources to provide supplies and monetary support to response efforts.

And the best part? These good things are happening around the world. From Syria to Haiti and the United States, the human spirit seems more resilient, unified and generous than ever before.

Through our Give Global Blog, we aim to highlight these inspiring stories by featuring members of our Charity Alliance and several of the ways they are giving hope to those in need, like Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) and the great work they are doing to elevate vulnerable populations around the world.

Lifting up women & children for a better future
CMMB has a vision – one in which every human life is valued, where health and human dignity is shared by all. To accomplish this, they focus their strategies primarily on women’s and children’s health.

Women play a central role in the lives of their families and communities. Healthy, educated and empowered women can and will live full and productive lives, and they will raise children with healthy habits, a positive outlook and strong values – children who will carry these lessons into the future.

One way CMMB provides this support is by ensuring safe pregnancy and birth through their mothers’ shelters. For one mother, Precious, these shelters literally made the difference between life and death for her and her child.

Despite having two previous at-home births, Precious was determined to have her third child at one of CMMB’s mothers’ shelters. She was so determined, in fact, that she walked 45 minutes to a shelter while enduring crippling labor pains. And it was a good thing she did – when baby Muyambango was born, he struggled to breathe. The first five minutes of his life were in limbo as doctors worked to breathe for him and elevate his oxygen levels. Soon after, Precious began to hemorrhage. 

But the medical staff knew what to do. With their help and expert use of the medical equipment available, Precious was stabilized, and Muyambango was able to breathe on his own.

“She would have died if she delivered at home,” said the nurse on duty that day. “And the baby probably would have survived but without a mom, no breast milk and expensive formula being so difficult to access … his life expectancy would have likely been very short.”

In communities with weaker health systems, women and their babies face danger throughout pregnancy and birth. Many women don’t have a facility to go to when it’s time to deliver, opting instead for home births, where they have no help if things go wrong. CMMB’s mothers’ shelters are a game-changer for women and help give their babies a strong start in life.

Health workers fighting COVID-19


 From the front lines of COVID-19: CMMB’s work in Haiti
The coronavirus pandemic continues to spread globally, putting countries with fragile health care systems at risk. With their work in global health, it comes as no surprise that CMMB staff are on the ground, working to provide immediate health care solutions in areas that are the most vulnerable to this pandemic – like Haiti.

CMMB is working to make sure that health care workers in Haiti have the personal protection equipment (PPE) and training they need to treat patients with COVID-19 while keeping themselves safe and healthy. 

To keep the general public protected, screening stations have been set up at the front entrances of the Bishop Joseph Sullivan Center for Health (BJSH) and Gris Gris clinic in Cotes-de-Fer. These facilities provide essential health services to the community, and the stations help keep patients who may be COVID-19 positive separate from others.

Two women wash their hands at a CMMB handwashing station.


 
Their aid even extends to WASH – CMMB has set up handwashing stations, complete with soap and filtered water, in front of their facility entrances to help reduce the spread of infection.

From COVID-19 response, to ensuring better access to sanitation facilities, CMMB works in a variety of different areas to support their mission. Find even more positive stories by checking out their other projects.
 
Promote positivity at your (home) office
Remote work is presenting new challenges to many companies. Zoom meetings keep getting hacked, Skype keeps crashing and some employees find themselves working late into the night. This situation has put a strain on mental health, and it’s integral to maintain positive morale even when we can’t see each other in person.

Let your employees know you care, and bring positivity, like CMMB’s success stories, into their lives.

Positive news. Put in the extra effort to share something uplifting or fun with your employees. It could be a humorous news story (looking at you, funny Zoom background creators) or ways to get together virtually (like playing board games or setting up happy hours).

Hint: Sharing this blog post is a good place to start! Let everyone know the inspirational work that CMMB is doing – both to fight COVID-19 and also to help women and children facing other health concerns worldwide.

Remind everyone: They have the power! We may feel useless cooped up inside our homes, but that’s not quite true. We have more power than we realize. We have the power to make sure we stay in, keep 6 feet away from people, limit shopping trips and wear a mask when out. 

We also have the power to step up: Help an older neighbor get groceries, lend an ear to a friend (or even a stranger!) or sign up to give blood. If you have the capacity, give to our Coronavirus Outbreak Fund to support CMMB’s efforts and the work of other charities battling COVID-19.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Don’t let the line of communication close. Update your employees regularly about how your company is tackling their needs during this pandemic – but also ask them how they are. Encourage them to reach out to each other. Share mental health resources and/or an employee assistance program (EAP) offered by your organization. Don’t have an EAP? Global Impact can help with that. 

Bosses are people, too. Maybe you’re the person receiving these updates from your managers. Hopefully your workplace has been trying to stay attuned to your needs. If that’s the case, and your work environment allows, we encourage you to reach back when they reach out – express words of gratitude and encouragement. Ask them how THEY are doing – because bosses are people, too.

We’re living through unusual and difficult times, but we can still take the time to do some good and learn more about the good that is already happening. Pause and take a look around you. You’ll see all the people helping each other – like CMMB, their hardworking staff and volunteers on the front lines, putting themselves at risk so that we can stay safe.

Contact

U.S. HEADQUARTERS

1199 N. Fairfax St.
Suite 300
Alexandria, VA 22314
800-836-4620
[email protected]

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