Support Robin Lim As She Opens New Clinic Doors

In places where maternal mortality rates are steep, services for women are scarce and the need for skilled, compassionate maternal healthcare is critical.

Ibu Robin Lim was Every Mother Counts’ very first grantee in Bali, Indonesia. We’re big fans and long-time supporters of the work she and her team at Bumi Sehat International do to provide safe, gentle prenatal care and birth services for women in Indonesia, the Philippines and in disaster zones.

Our first grant helped build the Bumi Sehat Birth Center. Our next grant helped build, staff and stock a laboratory that provides complete prenatal blood testing, including for HIV/AIDS. We collaborated with Robin again last year, along with One Heart Worldwide and We Care Solar to meet the immediate needs of birthing mothers after the earthquakes in Nepal.

In 2014, we wrote about Robin’s work as a first responder, setting up emergency birth facilities in the Philippines after Typhoon Yolanda. Robin explains, “Birth doesn’t wait for a convenient time or place. When a baby is ready, his mother needs a place where she’s safe, respected and cared for. She needs to be able to start her child’s life as gently as possible, even if every building around her has been knocked down or washed away.” Robin helps create these safe places during times of crisis. The midwives she trains respond to births wherever they’re needed, sometimes in tents and often times when there is no electricity or running water. She says, “Babies come and mothers need our help. So we go.”

At home in Indonesia, Bumi Sehat and Robin are changing the birth culture in a country where women’s rights, health and emotional needs during pregnancy and birth are often ignored. Robin explains, “Women come to us all the time having been mistreated during a previous pregnancy. They come to us after having experienced stillbirth and hope we’ll make their next pregnancy safer. They’ll walk for hours to reach us because they don’t have any transportation and can’t find another healthcare provider who will treat them compassionately. A lot of women are afraid they’ll be treated badly during birth. These are real fears for women all over the world.”

Robin shared a story that perfectly depicts the challenges midwives and mothers face in Indonesia.

Yesterday, while we were attending four beautiful births, I was called by a family on the dry, poor side of the island, very far away. Their beautiful younger sister, 7-months pregnant, died suddenly. There will be no autopsy, but blood did come from her old cesarean incision, so the family suspects she had a uterine rupture. All mothers, especially first time moms are handed out cesareans like there are no side effects. And, this tragedy will likely not be counted as a maternal mortality caused by a cesarean that went bad, because the surgery was done 2 ½ years ago. Recently, we’ve been told we’re no longer supposed to support Vaginal Births after Cesarean, even for women who are low-risk, in good health and good candidates. This is a real blow to midwives and some caring doctors.

Now, Robin and Bumi Sehat are expanding and they’re close to completing construction on a brand new health clinic in Bali, Indonesia to replace the one they outgrew years ago. Currently, Bumi Sehat provides about 20,000 health consultations for pregnant women, children and other community members and attends about 400 births annually. The new facility will increase services to include approximately 1500 births per year. Robin says the new building is beautifully designed and three times the size of the old clinic. It’s also earthquake resistant and Robin knows how important that is. When we last wrote about Robin, she was setting up birth facilities in a tent in Nepal surrounded by rubble.

Robin is asking for help to complete construction on the new clinic; to stock the rooms, fill the cupboards, hire and train new staff. She’s partnered with Hyperbiotics, (creators of the first probiotic made specifically to support the digestive health of pregnant women and nursing mothers). They’ll match every donation made by August 31, 2016 in their Dollar for Dollar Challenge Drive up to $75,000 for a total of $150,000. Robin says that’s enough to complete construction and open their clinic’s brand new doors.

We’re happy to support Robin Lim in her work to make pregnancy and childbirth safer, healthier and more compassionate for women and their families.

Check out our “get involved” page to find other ways you can help make pregnancy safe for every mother.

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