Sophie’s Diary – March 10, 2018,
I have been dreaming about building a health clinic for women to give safe births in for 16 years. Ever since giving birth to my first daughter, where the delivery turned into an emergency C-section, I knew from that moment that I wanted to help other women around the world. If it weren’t for the wonderful medical care facilities in Sweden, my daughter and I would have had a lower chance of making it out alive. Many women around the world do not have access to the same health facilities as in Sweden and therefore the mortality rate for women and their babies during birth is higher. This is the main reason behind building Home of Health & Babies in Kenya, to reduce unnecessary deaths of mothers and their babies.
Finally, the day has arrived to leave for Kenya to lay the foundation stone with ZB Foundation to build Home of Health & Babies. I’m feeling very excited and proud for this trip. Home of Health & Babies will be built next to the Kenswed Academy that school’s 300 students who come from harsh backgrounds. The school also had a boarding facility for 44 girl students aged 14-18 years old. The Kenswed Academy is supported by ZB Foundation and it makes me feel excited that Home of Health & Babies will be built next to this school as it can create a community atmosphere.
In Kenya 378 000 pregnancies occur for girls between the ages of 10-19 years of age. Out of these 378 000 pregnancies, 28 000 occur in girls aged 10-14. Of the remaining, 350 000 pregnancies occur for teenage girls aged 15-19. With these statistics makes me feel like Home of Health & Babies will be very helpful for not only women but young girls and teenage girls. During the first phase of Home of Health & Babies will give education to young girls about reproduction, safe sex, and preventative health measures to reduce teenage pregnancies. It will also have a nurse station that will provide women with prenatal care (during pregnancy) and antenatal care (post birth).
During the second phase of Home of Health & Babies we will be a safe clinic for expecting mothers to give birth at, so that we can help reduce unnecessary infant mortality. In Sweden the mortality rate of infants is 4 out of every 100 000 births. While in Kenya, the birth mortality rate is 400 out of 100 000. That is a 40 000% higher risk of an infant dying in Kenya during childbirth than compared to Sweden. The reason behind having Home of Health & Babies operate in two phases is to make sure that we give the best care possible and not take on too much at one time.
There are many contributing factors to infant mortality, one of those being poverty. In Kenya there is extreme poverty. According to United Nations, being below the poverty level in Kenya means that they earn less than 0.9 US dollars per day. In Kenya, 34% of people are below this poverty line. In Sweden, 0% of people are below the poverty line. I feel like we have a very important mission to come in front of us to help youth, girls, women and babies. I feel very excited to see the outcome of Home of Health & Babies as the figures are showing that Kenya is in need of help.
Traveling with me are my two good friends of 30 years Lisa Persson and Ulrika Blyh Schultz. I would like to introduce Lisa Persson:
Lisa is 46 years old and is a painter/artist that lives in Gothenburg with her family. When I asked how she was feeling she said “Sophie and I have been friends for 30 years and I have been following her work with great interest. I have been longing to contribute more in some way. I did a couple of years ago by organizing a successful art auction during the Charity gala held to raise money for rebuilding an orphanage Home of Hope in the mountains of Nepal that got destroyed by the earthquakes. When I got the question to join ZB Foundation, Mäns Zelmerlöw and Lööf Foundation’s project of building Home of Health & Babies in Kenya, I said yes straight right away! I am feeling very excited and cannot wait to enter the aircraft to finally be on our way.”
If you would like to know more about my great friend Lisa, you can learn all about her and her work by visiting http://www.lisapersson.com/.
I would like to also introduce my good friend Ulrika Blyh Schultz,
Ulrika is 46 years old, who works at Swedbank in Mariestad and lives with her two sons. She is a very close friend of mine as we have been friends for 30 years. When I asked her how she was feeling she had this to say, “I have been following Sophie’s work closely, and feel grateful to get this opportunity to experience the first steps of Home of Health & Babies. I feel very happy that Lisa and I get to do this together with Sophie as we have all been friends for many years. I have lots of anticipation for this trip, and my heart feels very warm knowing that I will be able to contribute hands on. We are currently in the taxi which is filled with suitcases packed to top with baby clothes, glasses and drawing material. It makes me feel proud to know that we will be able to do something positive for others and help.”
Also traveling with us is volunteer Simon Hooper from Partex UK, as well as Monica Hellström who has volunteered for us before in Nepal. Monica is a certified midwife and nurse, she will be our medical expert during this trip and is already on site in Kenya. Next time you hear from us we will all finally be in Kenya! We cannot wait to get there and take the first steps in this project!
Lööf Foundation Chairman and Founder