Mother Health International: An Inspirational Model of Sustainable Compassion

The House of Birth and Peace

Mother Health International is a non-profit organization committed to reducing maternal, infant and child mortality rates by creating culturally competent and sustainable birth centers using the midwifery model of care. Through this model they are able to offer compassionate care for generations in the future. The group of midwives, doctors, activists and academics that form this organization work with midwives in Uganda, Haiti and Senegal to change maternal and child outcomes. One of their clinics in Atiak, Uganda, called The House of Birth and Peace, represents all elements of their model. The compassionate care that women receive at the clinic is a marked departure from, and a way to heal from, the trauma of war, poverty and violence.

The House of Birth and Peace is successful because it is the result of a grassroots, collaborative effort with the local community. The staff integrates existing knowledge and utilizes appropriate teaching models that suit the population. Perhaps most pertinent to the clinic’s sustainability is the sense of ownership from the community and their desire to be financially self-sufficient. The House of Birth and Peace is widely accepted because the midwives and Traditional Birth Attendants are local women who have trained at the clinic.

Uganda is a country with staggering birth outcomes, however The House of Birth and Peace serves as an oasis of loving and supportive care. The clinic’s statistics are proof that holistic and attentive midwifery care results in better maternal and infant outcomes. In Northern Uganda a woman has a 1 in 25 lifetime chance of dying during childbirth. In comparison, over 2,700 deliveries have occurred at the clinic and they have never lost a mother. The national infant mortality rate is 54 deaths for every 1,000 births, whereas the clinic has a much lower rate of 11 deaths for every 1,000 births. This model is proof that sustainability and compassion have an incredible effect on birth outcomes.

The House of Birth and Peace is fundraising for an ambulance. In rural villages women give birth on the side of the road on their way to seek help. They also walk miles home after their baby is born, which places them at risk for hemorrhage. An ambulance is one of the most important tools that Mother Health International uses to ensure good outcomes. An ambulance ensures that a woman is picked up in labor, delivered safely to the clinic and drives them home post-partum.

If you would like more information on Mother Health International and the amazing work that they do, or to donate to their ambulance fund, then please visit or follow them on Facebook. For more details on Rachel Zaslow, the executive director of Mother Health International and healthy birthing models, then please visit and

Randi Powell

Global Force for Healing Intern

OHSU Senior Nursing Student

Nursing Students Without Borders

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