Robin Lim is an internationally recognized midwife known for the life-saving work of her Indonesian-based nonprofit, Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Earth Foundation). Also known as Ibu (Mother) Robin because of her role as a mother figure in Indonesia, her organization’s provision of free prenatal care, birthing services, and emergency medical aid became front page news when she won the CNN “Hero of the Year” award in 2011.
Direct Relief’s partnership with Bumi Sehat began after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and has developed over the years into a longstanding commitment to support Bumi Sehat’s relentless efforts to improve the health of mothers and children in Indonesia and now the Philippines.
When Typhoon Haiyan hit the island nation in November, the need for prenatal, birthing, and specifically midwife services increased exponentially. Recognizing the dire need for essential maternal and child health services in the wake the devastation, Robin – with the support of Direct Relief – brought a team of skilled and equipped healthcare professionals to the heart of the Typhoon Haiyan disaster zone to provide emergency medical relief and birthing services.
For many people in this area who are earning roughly $2.00 a day, the 1,000 pesos ($22.00) needed to pay for a delivery in a medical facility is unthinkable. For some pregnant women in this region, the decision comes down to food for their families or a safe birth in a medical facility, with many choosing to give birth at home without a skilled and equipped provider present.
Mirasol Belleza is one of those women who would have been unable to access prenatal and delivery services had it not been for the free care provided at Bumi Sehat and sponsored by Direct Relief. She was six months pregnant when the typhoon hit, destroying her home and leaving her without the ability to pay for skilled medical care.
Over the past six months, Robin has built out a comprehensive medical relief camp that provides prenatal, delivery, postpartum, and primary health care for mothers and their children. Nearly 400 babies have been delivered safely at the camp, all of whom were born to mothers who experienced the devastation of the typhoon in their communities.
When Direct Relief’s Emergency Response Team visited the camp in April, it was buzzing with activity—from moms getting prenatal checkups, to getting vaccinations for their babies, to one who was in active labor. Everyone the team spoke to said it was a blessing to have this service in an area so devastated by the typhoon.
Direct Relief continues to support the camp with thousands of nutritional supplements, antibiotics, exam gloves, pain relievers, and I.V. solutions. Additionally, two Direct Relief Midwife Kits were provided to Robin and her team of midwives, to ensure these providers have the right medicines, supplies, and equipment to continue the life-saving work.
Direct Relief is honored to partner with Ibu (Mother) Robin and her dedicated team as they work tirelessly to provide care for mothers who need it most.
You can help midwives around the world, like Mother Robin and her team, prevent maternal and infant deaths. Just $25 provides the tools needed to protect a mother and bring a baby safely into the world.