Grand Challenges Canada

To mark Mother’s Day (May 10th), CAN-MNCH (of which Grand Challenges Canada is a member) has hosted its annual ‘MOMmentum Mother’s Day Tea’ on Parliament Hill. A display of stories and images called ‘Through Her Eyes’ focused on the connection between Canadian mothers and mothers around the world who are impacted by Canadian contributions. To celebrate Canadian leadership on maternal, newborn and child health and the impact it has in the lives of mothers in developing nations, here is a story of two people and their respective mothers: Kristen in Canada and Christian in Colombia.

NAME:      Kristen, Program Officer Grand Challenges Canada
COUNTRY:      Canada
ORGANIZATION:      Grand Challenges Canada




My birth story marks the starMomentum2t of my relationship with maternal and newborn survival. Seven months into her pregnancy with me, my mother got into trouble. Mom developed pre-eclampsia, a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy, putting us both in distress. Thanks to  my mom’s ability and decision to seek care when her symptoms arose, coupled with an excellent referral system with skilled providers at the other end, we made it through. I was delivered by C-section at 31 weeks, small and low weight (1.1 kg) but healthy. I realize I fared well in the lottery of birth and am dedicated to ensuring we make it less of a gamble for others to come.





NAME:      Christian
COUNTRY:      Colombia
ORGANIZATION:      Kangaroo Foundation (innovator supported by Grand Challenges Canada)




Christian was bornMomentum1 in 1993 by caesarean section at 34 weeks. At birth, he weighed only 950 g and suffered from retinopathy due to a detached retina. The first weeks of his life, Christian remained in the intensive care unit, growing slowly and below average. Amalia, Christian’s mother, was introduced to Kangaroo Mother Care almost immediately. She learned how the keep Christian in a vertical position, on her chest, in direct contact with the skin at least 12 hours a day. She was told how to feed her baby properly. Amalia rapidly gained confidence in her ability to support her low birth weight child. Today, 22 years later, Christian has grown into a normal young adult, apart from his small size and the issues with one eye. All medical and psychological tests are within norm and show a healthy brain development. He studies computer sciences at SENA (Technological Institute of the Colombian state). Amalia has nothing but positive words for Kangaroo Care: “I think the program has protected my son. Having him very close to me for such a prolonged time has proven to be wonderful for him.”

Dr. Nathalie Charpak (an innovator supported by Grand Challenges Canada) is comparing the effects of Kangaroo Mother Care versus Traditional Care for Low Birth Weight Infants at the age of 18 years.




Read our other blog post for Mother’s Day 2015: “Canada is helping to make sure women in developing nations live to celebrate Mother’s Day“. We encourage you to post your questions and comments about this blog post on our Facebook page Grand Challenges Canada and on Twitter @gchallenges