By providing funds to buy a boat to be used as emergency medical transport, we can save the lives of pregnant women and their babies.

University United Methodist Church (UUMC) has just started a fundraising project to raise $10,000 to buy a motorboat that will service five villages in the Rukwa Region of Tanzania. More than 500,000 women worldwide die every year from pregnancy-related causes. Lack of transportation to a health care center is often the number one reason women die during pregnancy or suffer from life-long, debilitating conditions. In the Rukwa Region, approximately 70% of women still give birth at home, without access to a skilled health professional; this is the highest percentage in all of Tanzania. UUMC member, Adrienne Strong, visited the Rukwa Region in May 2012. She studies maternal and reproductive health in Tanzania and was drawn to this region because of the severe challenges pregnant women face in this area. While Adrienne was in the region, she was approached by the District Medical Officer, Dr. Elina Yessaya, about the district's need for a motorboat to transport pregnant women and emergency cases to health care services. There are several villages that are relatively isolated on the shores of Lake Rukwa and, for the inhabitants of these villages, the fastest route to a health center would be across the lake. However, due to severe health budget limitations in the region, local authorities are unable to provide these communities with the necessary boat; ongoing supply needs are prioritized over the purchase of a boat. UUMC decided to take on this project and we are also hoping to involve local community organizations in order to not only raise funds but also awareness about health inequities and the state of women's health in countries such as Tanzania. This is a wonderful opportunity for us in the St. Louis community to act as a stakeholder in the health of this region and partner with these Tanzanian communities and their health administration to provide a long-term, sustainable difference for women's health. By providing the district health administration with the funds to purchase a boat we will be enabling them to improve this situation for the long-run. The District Medical Officer will be responsible for the maintenance of the boat and supplying the necessary fuel.

Please note: If you are a UUMC member, your donation through razoo.com will not show up on your statement of giving from the church. The donation will still be tax deductible as razoo.com is a non-profit but your donation is to the site and not directly to the church.

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