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Persons of the Week: Dr. Jeffrey Graham and Dr. Reta Graham

Dr. Jeffrey Graham, a family practitioner, and his wife, Dr. Reta Graham, an obstetrician, are co-founders of Mama Maisha. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Our Persons of the Week are changing lives in a country where women are often undervalued and live in conditions that many times lead to early death.

Dr. Jeffrey Graham, a family practitioner, and his wife, Dr. Reta Graham, an obstetrician, are co-founders of Mama Maisha.

Three years ago, after a visit to Tanzania, a country where a woman dies every minute of every day from complications related to pregnancy, they created the nonprofit. Its goal is to educate women in a country where finding good health care is difficult.

Reta explained, "The labor and delivery suite in the hospital where we work doesn't always have electricity, and it doesn't have running water. So, just try to wrap your head around that."

Jeffrey said the name of their nonprofit, made perfect sense. "In Swahili, Maisha is the term they use for life. For our organization, it made sense to call it mother life. Mama life."

Mama Maisha recruits women out of the villages who then become the educators of other women in the village.

"It's amazing the impact you can have just by educating these women who have virtually no education," Jeffrey said.

Reta added, "They help women access prenatal care early, which is not typical. They make sure when a woman does go into labor, they're called."

In only three years, Mama Maisha has helped almost 1,500 Tanzanian women through the course of their pregnancies. Their motto is "Saving lives two by two."

For mothers and their children, the Graham's think it's more than a health issue, it's a human rights issue.

If you would like to learn more, donate or get involved with Mama Maisha, click here.

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