“From pregnancy through birth to motherhood… We are saving lives.”
I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Winfred (Freddy) Tovar at a MIMSI International fundraiser in New York City in the spring of 2018. My sister, a pharmacist, and Freddy had become friends working in the medical field as well as volunteering in Haiti to bring medical care to rural populations that often have no access to doctors or nurses.
MIMSI, which stands for Modification In Mother-Baby-Mortality Statistics Initiative, is a non-profit organization that trains community members in pregnancy care in remote, rural areas of the developing world. Once trained, Volunteers become MIMSI staff and run mobile pregnancy clinics to serve pregnant women in their communities. To date, MIMSI has 17 staff members, has transferred 1804 pregnant women to the hospital and has supported 6775 families.
From the MIMSI website:
“Pregnant women in Haiti often face great obstacles to care for herself and her unborn child. Age, poverty, long distances, structural inequalities, poor understanding of prenatal care — all pose very real blocks to accessing pregnancy care.”
“We offer innovative, sustainable mobile solutions powered by the Haitian community. Our trained Haitian staff schedule monthly visits to remote rural areas, drive out to deliver prenatal services, and find women and babies at risk of dying.”
Getting to Know Dr. Tovar
From the MIMSI website:
“Dr. Tovar–formerly an attending physician at St. Barnabas Hospital in Bronx, NY, with more than a decade of experience–trained as an obstetrician and gynecologist specializing in high-risk obstetrics, gynecologic laparoscopy and minimally-invasive surgery.”
“Through his experiences with Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières), Dr. Tovar has become interested in humanitarian medicine as a result of witnessing women and their family members directly impacted by the lack of adequate healthcare and medical services.”
“Prior to his work with MIMSI, Dr. Tovar served as an Assistant Professor at Stony Brook University Medical Center, where he was responsible for the HIV women’s clinic and was the Chief Attending supervising the residency education and surgical training. He also worked at Westchester Medical Center as an Assistant Professor responsible for attending all deliveries and supervising residents during gynecological surgery.”
“Dr. Tovar proudly received a Doctor of Medicine (MD) from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and is an active alumnus of Columbia University, where he received a Bachelors Degree in Biochemistry/Pre-medical Concentration.”
A Small Yet Strong Organization
Upon being introduced to Dr. Tovar, who insisted that I call him Freddy, I immediately was charmed by his personality and his dedication to his work. A gregarious man with a huge smile, he spoke quickly and eloquently about the work MIMSI does in Haiti and his plans to build a permanent facility to improve access to care for women and their families.
Having had a chance to look over the MIMSI website before attending the fundraiser, I complimented him on MIMSI’s branding and messaging, feeling confident that, based on the organization’s presentation of itself, that is was large and very well funded because he must have a substantial marketing budget. Come to find out, Freddy runs most of MIMSI on his own with the support of volunteers on a small budget. He finds the time in his incredibly busy schedule to travel to Haiti and work alongside trained medical workers, bringing what medications and supplies that he can with him.
“Every 20 minutes, a woman in Haiti dies during pregnancy, making it the top cause of death for Haitian women. She is 26 times more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth than women in the United States.” – MIMSI website
I was more than impressed with Freddy and MIMSI — the world needs as many people like him as possible who are willing to take time away from the comforts of home to help the less fortunate and to have the drive and confidence to do so. MIMSI is not only doing life-saving working in Haiti. It is an organization that has the drive to expand to other parts of the world to continue to bring care to vulnerable women who otherwise have no option of having a safe pregnancy. We at Begin Giving strongly believe in the mission and values of MIMSI International and Dr. Freddy.
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