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Launch of partnership to transform the lives of refugee mothers and babies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Australia for UNHCR and Teachers Health have launched in Sydney today a three-year program that will help deliver neonatal care to 11,000 displaced mothers and their newborns in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

There are currently 4.5 million people displaced by conflict within DRC, and 541,000 refugees in DRC from neighbouring countries. Humanitarian needs are enormous, and pregnant women and infants are amongst the most vulnerable. In DRC without antenatal care mothers and babies face serious risks.

Through the partnership, Teachers Health, a not-for-profit health fund for members of the education community, will help fund antenatal, obstetric and postnatal care in DRC. This support will include providing equipment such as infant incubating heaters and portable ultra sound machines, as well as medicines and disposal equipment for delivery kits and training for birth attendants.

Australia for UNHCR is the Australian national partner of the UN Refugee, Agency (UNHCR) – the lead agency for the protection of refugees, displaced and stateless people globally.

At today’s launch, Teachers Health CEO Brad Joyce said, “Our partnership with Australia for UNHCR allows us to take action and extend the reach of our health and wellbeing support, making a real and positive global impact where it’s urgently needed; saving the lives of refugee mothers and their babies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

Naomi Steer, National Director, Australia for UNHCR said, “This support from Teachers Health comes at a critical time for UNHCR as record levels of displacement leave its global relief operations underfunded by almost half. I am very grateful to Teachers Health for taking a leadership role and supporting refugees through this important and innovative partnership.”