Photo by Australia for UNHCR
In Australia we're lucky to have access to the basics of life like health and education. And our members know how valuable these life keystones are. But for many refugees, displaced from their homes and communities, these necessities are not available.
Some of the most vulnerable refugees in the world are mums and newborn babies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Every year, 96,000 newborns die in their first month of life in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and up to half these babies don't survive their first 24 hours.
So we've stepped up. We've made a three-year commitment to help refugee mothers and their babies access a safer start to life.
In October 2018, Teachers Health partnered with Australia for UNHCR, the Australian national partner of the UN Refugee Agency. Teachers Health is assisting with health support for around 11,100 displaced mothers and their newborn babies in the DRC over a 3 year period.
About Australia for UNHCR
We're grateful to be working in partnership with Australia for UNHCR, the Australian national partner of the UN Refugee Agency – the lead agency for the protection of refugees, displaced and stateless people globally.
"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."
Naomi Steer, National Director, Australia for UNHCR.
UNHCR reports there are currently 4.5 million people displaced by conflict in the DRC, including more than 548,000 refugees from neighbouring countries. The humanitarian needs are enormous, for the refugees and the communities supporting them.
Teachers Health are helping fund support that's desperately needed, including for antenatal, obstetric and postnatal care. We're providing equipment like infant incubating heaters, portable ultrasound machines, medicines and equipment for delivery kits, and training for birth attendants.
Mission to the DRC
In March this year, Penny Jones and Reshma Joseph from Teachers Health travelled with an Australia for UNHCR team to the DRC. They visited remote parts of the region to see what's been achieved, and what needs to be done.
The trip was emotional and life changing for both Penny and Reshma. Watch the video on their experience: