Resource Mother (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
The Resource Mothers Program is modeled on a Virginia-based initiative to improve the health of expectant and new mothers and their babies to empower women in deprived and underserved neighborhoods in the developing world. These resource mothers serve as mentors to at-risk pregnant women and their babies to decrease the rate of infant mortality and low birth weight babies in developing countries. The program was launched in November 2005 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic as "Madres Tutelares" and has seen the births of hundreds of healthy newborns. Resource Mothers help young mothers receive the appropriate prenatal and pediatric care to ensure a healthy baby, minimize health risks to the expecting mother, and decrease the rate of infant mortality in developing countries. In doing so, these Resource Mothers help pregnant women and their families access social services and community resources. Over time, the resource mothers and their clients build trusting and supportive relationships and continue ensuring the women have information on parenting, nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
Teach: We train Resource Mothers like Kissairis to help young women navigate the overcrowded maternity hospital in Santo Domingo. The Resource Mothers teach the young women about nutrition and give them sound advice on the challenges of early motherhood.
Collaborate: Our program was modeled after a similar effort launched through Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va. Today, faculty members and students from Old Dominion University’s College of Health Sciences (also in Norfolk) are instrumental in providing ongoing training to our Resource Mothers.
Sustain: Through the program, we’re also able to provide important items, like prenatal vitamins, to help ensure the best possible outcomes for mothers and babies. Many of our Resource Mothers, inspired by their new roles as community leaders, have returned to school or left abusive relationships, improving their own lives, even as they help others.