We're all about providing surgeries to children - I think we've made that pretty clear - but we're also passionate about getting the rest of the family involved. That means we aren't standing by an entire generation of children with CHD but also the communities, the support groups, and the leaders who play a crucial role in improving local healthcare throughout the country.
Without a doubt, some of Iraq's strongest leaders are the mothers.
They're leading the way by asking real questions about proper nutrition, pre-natal care, post-op rehabilitation for their children, the causes of heart defects, and how they can be a part of the solution. They aren't content to be bystanders. And these questions are encouraging, because they prove that mothers here see that something's wrong, and they want to do something about it.
That's why our Followthrough program is seeking to unite mothers all over Iraq and give them the tools they need to be the remedy. Then, once they've been equipped, we set them loose to pass it on to the next mother. 'Equipping' here means educating them on the value of healthcare, what robust nutrition looks like here with the available foods in Iraq, how to look after children with heart disease, and how all of this will help lower the rate of children born with heart defects each year.
Educating and empowering mothers to better care for their children is the first step toward attacking this CHD problem at the source. We want them to know that it doesn't take a PhD to fight heart disease. We all can play a role.
Imagine women all over Iraq, representing multiple ethnicities, faiths, and tribes, all united together with the common goal - to create a better future for their children!
Stick with us during the coming weeks to see how moms are changing the tide in Iraq!