Maternal Health

Established in 2009, the Barbara May Foundation (BMF) provides funding to Australian medical professionals Valerie Browning AM and Dr Andrew Browning who are working in Africa to ensure that women have dignity and safety during pregnancy and childbirth. The aim of their work is to provide a professional healthcare program that will prevent injury to the mother and result in a live, healthy baby. Valerie does this through the Afar Pastoral Development Association (APDA) based in remote Mille, Ethiopia, where the BMF in partnership with the S&SWSLHD has funded the building and operations of the Barbara May Maternity Hospital, a 22-bed facility.

Dr Andrew Browning (Valerie’s nephew) works through Maternity Africa, based in Arusha, Tanzania. Here he runs the Selian Maternity Unit and the Maternity Africa Midwifery Training Centre. In Barhirdar, Ethiopia – he runs an interim 10-bed maternity hospital, the Vision Maternity Centre. (VMC). A new, purpose built facility, with 22 beds is under construction, due for completion in mid-2016. Both organisations run significant outreach services into rural and remote areas providing pre and anti-natal services, emergency obstetric care and obstetric fistula treatment. Training of locals to increase capacity is also provided.


Sustainable Development

Together, Andrew’s and Valerie’s organisations are focusing on sustainable development by:
  • Implementing systems to train local maternal health providers in sound clinical skills and competency.
  • Driving the improvement of available medical facilities, and, where required, the provision of additional infrastructure.
  • Advocating for women’s health and well-being regardless of race, religion or financial standing.

Desired Outcomes

  • Greater quality and efficiency in childbirth services provided by trained, local midwives and health and medical professionals.
  • Safer childbirth, the delivery of live babies, and mothers not injured during childbirth. (Reduction of morbidity and mortality of women & babies)
  • Access to medical facilities for poor women, regardless of race or religion, and those in regional and remote areas.
Both organisations rely heavily on ex-pat doctors and midwives volunteering to provide relief and training support to the permanent teams.