Expectant mothers in Pittsburgh have it pretty good. For the most part, they have convenient access to quality prenatal care and insurance to pay for it. Across Latin America and the Caribbean, that’s not always the case.
In Nicaragua, the infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births) is 20 and the maternal mortality ratio (deaths per 100,000 live births) is 100, according to Pittsburgh nonprofit Global Links, a medical relief and development organization that’s working to improve those numbers through its Maternal and Infant Health program. Compare that statistic to the U.S. infant mortality rate of six deaths per 1,000 live births.
To support the program, Global Links will host its second Beers for Babes event May 22 at Bayardstown Social Club in the Strip District. The 21-and-over fundraiser will feature beers from Rivertowne Brewery Company and hot dogs from the Franktuary food truck.
Three local friends founded Global Links in 1989 with three goals: recover surplus supplies from hospitals; find volunteers to sort, prepare and pack the recovered supplies; and create lasting healthcare programs in the Western Hemisphere. The Maternal and Infant Health program started after a meeting between a Global Links program officer visiting Nicaragua and a local doctor. The doctor suggested an incentive program that could influence pregnant mothers in rural parts of the country to make their way to clinics in the city. Such trips could be as long as three hours, meaning mothers would have to take their children with them, find childcare, and maybe take a day off work. Global Links’s Stacy Bodow said the promise of free supplies helps many mothers justify the adventure.
“Being able to provide a bag full of clothes and diapers, shampoos and powders—stuff that a mom couldn’t get even if she had money because that stuff’s just not available in rural areas,” Bodow says.
At the Beers for Babes event, attendees will pack bags to be delivered to Nicaragua later this year, as well as participate in interactive games centered on access to healthcare. Admission is $15; donate newborn-related items to enter a raffle. Appropriate donations are new baby clothing (newborn to 9 months), disposable diapers (newborn to 1-year-old), baby hygiene items (wash/shampoo, lotion, powder, or baby wipes) and new baby/receiving blankets. Two local community partners — Genesis House, a maternity care facility for pregnant women in need of shelter, and Jeremiah’s Place, a free childcare center for families in crisis — will receive the donations brought to the event.
Last year’s inaugural Beer for Babes at The Global Switchboard in Lawrenceville attracted more than 100 people, raised $1,200 and collected 136 pounds of baby items. Attendees packed 60 Welcome Baby Bags to ship to Nicaragua.
Tickets are available for purchase here.