Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Simple, Effective Way to Reduce Infant Mortality

Leeda Rashid has seen how Embrace can make a difference in places such as Afghanistan, where she runs HEEDA, a health non-profit.

 Leeda Rashid


A: My husband, who’s also a physician, and I looked through the technology and some basic research that was already done at Stanford on the Embrace, and we thought, my goodness, this is very appropriate for hospitals in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is notorious for poor grid access. If you’re a hospital that happens to be in a neighborhood that has a lot of rolling blackouts, you’re not going to be able to use a lot of the medical technologies out there. Through our nonprofit, we’ve deployed upwards of 75 to 80 of the warmers [in Afghanistan]. We’re in four of the largest public-sector hospitals. We’re at a little more than 10,000 uses over the last three years. We’re now working to do what the minister of health wants. He says the product needs to go out to rural Afghanistan. That’s where a lot of the deliveries are happening, and there is virtually no electricity there.


A: Our first step is to start using them in public ambulances. On a recent trip, I was assessing the ambulance sites to see if Embrace can be used during delivery between someone’s home, or from a rural clinic, to the larger, district-level hospitals.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

In Washington DC from the USAWC meeting

The former first lady and honorary co-chair Laura Bush along with members of the USAWC

This past week, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the US Afghan Women’s Council Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.  It happened to also be the launch of “We Are Afghan Women”,  a wonderful narrative by Former First Lady of the United States, Laura Bush.  
I won’t go into a book review because I think you all should read it for yourselves. It’s divided into sections entitled Living, Learning, Working, Surviving, and Challenging, and it truly does depict these women (and men) as overcoming insurmountable barriers to improving their own lives and those around them. Its an inspiration at any point in our lives to be witness to people who are truly putting themselves in the line of fire for the sake of change; especially in a country as culturally and politically complex as Afghanistan, so I encourage everyone to read it.

I also won’t go into too much detail about the women, men, artists, activists and all around amazing people that I met. From candid talks about why aid and development needs innovative models in order to be truly successful in Afghanistan, to seeing the inspiring work of the Turquoise Mountain exhibitors at the Smithsonian’s Freer Sackler Museum, I will just say that every person, organization or program that I encountered left me humbled by what our country can accomplish when we take our struggled and learn from our past and push forward towards a better future.

HEEDA is proud to be part of the efforts at the US Afghan Women’s Council.   We are committed to working with other organizations to support the development efforts in Afghanistan.