COVID-19 Updates from Harambee Village Doulas

Updated: Mar 17, 2020

COVID-19 Updates in Our Village

Monday March 16, 2020, 10:51am

At Harambee Village Doulas we have a deep-rooted commitment to the health and wellness of each and every member of our village. As we are amidst an ever changing COVID-19 outbreak, we wanted to share with you how we, as a doula agency, are working to stay informed as well as keep our clients and our doulas safe.

We know that everyone is following this matter very closely, but we also know that there is a lot of confusing information out there, which can create a lot of fear and uncertainty. In addition, with hospitals across the country changing their visitor policies, this is affecting birthing people as well as doulas. Also, although there are things that may be in our control: practicing good hand washing, staying home, social distancing and the like...babies will continue to be born, and pregnant and lactating people will continue to need nuanced support during this time.

Fear can make us all feel anxious. Let us not dwell on the fear, but rather, seek out resources to feel informed, so that we can make the best decisions for ourselves, our children, our family and our village during these challenging and ever-changing times.

We would like to invite you to take three deep breaths before you continue to read on…. breathe in…. breathe out…. breathe in... breathe out...breathe in, breathe out…. Remember that we have our breath as one tool to anchor and ground us during these uncertain times.

What you can do

Stay up to date with local and national information.

Currently, we have 33 confirmed cases in WI. 6 of which are confirmed, active cases in Dane County. Below are links to stay up to date with emerging information, that is changing by the hour.

Public Health Madison Dane County latest info on Coronavirus

WI Department of Health Services

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Global Guidelines

The CDC, Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM), and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) have issued the following guidelines for medical providers and pregnant people:

COVID-19 and pregnant people (CDC)

● COVID-19 and breastfeeding

Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine’s statement on Coronavirus and breastfeeding

CDC COVID & Breastfeeding

ACOG Practice Advisory

Protect your health! Basic Safety

Harambee Village Doulas are not only monitoring the local situation and sharing information, but we are also continuing to practice best practices for overall health, and we encourage our village to as well. These preventative measures that we are taking with ourselves, our clients and our families include:

● Washing hands often and for at least 20 seconds. You can sing the verse to your favorite song several times while you wash your hands. Or you can sing along to our parody of Drake’s In my feelings :)

● Using an alcohol based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available

● Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

● Practice social distancing per local and national requirements

● Stay home when sick (our doulas will too!)

● Cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces ,regularly

● Avoid close contact with people who are sick

● Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and immediately discarding it

● Always reach out to your care provider with ANY concerns or questions, OR if experiencing any flu like symptom

What we are doing at Harambee Village Doulas

Events, Support Groups, Classes

At this time, we are postponing all of our support groups and events until April 15th. Also following suit is our TNT Family Resource Center, it too will be closed at this time. We will reevaluate at that time and keep our village posted. In the meantime, we will be working on providing virtual access to our support groups, services, etc. Please stay tuned for more information about this.

Our Services, Client Support & Advocacy

We are being flexible and creative with our doula support!

At this time, our Harambee Village Doulas are moving their meetings, appointments, consultations, and the like to a virtual format. We are doing so for several reasons. We work with pregnant people and infants, who are an at-risk group in respect to COVID-19. We want to take all precautions to keep our doula workforce healthy, so that we are readily available to support our clients during childbirth, if they so choose. We are working with our clients to provide alternate options for care, based on their wishes and desires; such as an option for virtual birth doula support, telehealth visits with a doula/lactation counselor/parent educator, etc. Our doulas are also ensuring that our clients have access to the right information to keep themselves and their families informed, safe and healthy as we navigate this outbreak.

Extra Safety Precautions Harambee Village Doulas are Taking:

● Wearing gloves in the birth room or when assisting with lactation

● Washing our hands and sanitizing often during births- similar to doctors, midwives and other providers

● Washing our work clothes after each encounter, in hot water

● Limiting the items we are bringing to births, and disinfecting any birth or lactation supplies after each use

● We will have all active doulas on-call, monitor their temperatures, and report them to our Leadership

We are working with local partners and hospitals to ensure that all of our clients will have access to their doulas during their birth. If you are a pregnant or birthing person, know that you still have universal human rights and childbirth rights that need to be adhered to. Currently, our local hospitals are limiting patients to one visitor. We have been reassured by Meriter UnityPoint Health, however, that they will NOT count doulas as a “visitor”. Harambee Village has advocated for this, as we see our Doulas as part of the care team, and not as a “lay person”. We are trained perinatal health professionals that have been hired by our clients, and therefore work for our clients. We will send out more information as we have it.

Resources for Harambee Village Doula Clients

We have already, or will be in touch with all of our current clients that are due in the next 60 days. However, if you are a current Harambee Village Doula client, please see below for some additional information and resources available to you.

● Download Google Hangouts app: free app that you can use for video communication with your doula on any computer, phone or tablet.

Android download

Apple download

● Download Zoom app: free app for video communication for any computer, phone or tablet.

Android download

Apple download

● Connect with us on Facebook

● Interact with our Instagram Page

● Join our Doulas on the WIX app and ask real time questions with a community of our doulas and pregnant, birthing and breastfeeding people.

Project Babies- delivery of baby items

● Ideas for things to do at home with your kids on our TNT Family Resource Center page

● General Outreach Line during this time: 608-535-9525. Please call or text this number if you are in need of any essential baby or maternity items, or have urgent questions. Although we cannot guarantee we can accommodate all needs, we will do our best to pull our community together to support needs in the best way we are able at this time.

● Coming soon: Resource tab on our website with updated information on COVID-19

Donations and support for village members

If you are well resourced and in a position to give, please consider making a monetary donation to our non-profit arm (African American Breastfeeding Alliance of Dane County, Inc.), to assist us in meeting the needs of our village members who are struggling to have access to basic items for themselves, their babies and their families.

We are committed to our village, and will continue to look for creative and innovative ways to support needs during this time. Stay safe, stay healthy, be kind, share compassion and be well!

Peace and Love,

Tia Murray, Co-Founder & CEO

Micaela Berry, Executive Director

Harambee Village Doulas

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