• Pregnancy and childbirth are among the leading causes of death and disability among women worldwide. Each year, 303,000 women and girls still die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth—equating to roughly 830 women who die each day from pregnancy and childbirth related causes.
  • Maternal mortality is a health indicator with one of the greatest disparities between high- and low- to middle-income countries. In 2015, the lifetime risk of maternal death in low-income countries as a whole was 1 in 41, compared to 1 in 3,300 in high-income countries. Among regions, women in sub-Saharan Africa face the highest lifetime risk (1 in 36). In many countries, the maternal death rates remain unchanged from antiquity. Most deaths could be prevented when high-quality maternal and perinatal health care is prioritized and available for every woman and baby.
  • Globally, each year approximately 10 million babies do not breathe immediately at birth, 6 million require basic neonatal resuscitation, and 1 million newborns take their first and last breaths on the day they are born. Each year, millions of babies are poorly resuscitated, leading to lifelong disability or death. Simple training to assist a baby in breathing at birth could prevent this. The first minutes of life are critical and health care workers must be trained to systematically assess and manage newborn asphyxia.
  • In many countries, protocols for newborn resuscitation are not utilized and oxygen-deprived neonates are stimulated to cry by persistent slapping. Contemporary protocols do not include slapping, but rather oxygen administration in a warm setting to prevent brain and neurological damage. Educational initiatives to teach simple protocols for newborn resuscitation must be established in developing countries.
It is clear that inadequate health care contributes to needless death and disability of mothers and newborns in countries around the world. The most current medical knowledge and procedures are not available in many countries. Yet, physicians and nurses are keen to educate themselves in the techniques that are routine in many countries around the world. Kybele has seen firsthand how expanding education with hands-on training can dramatically improve medical practices. Our goal is to reduce maternal and newborn suffering and death. Kybele is about teaching, hands-on facilitation and creating ongoing medical education partnerships to improve childbirth safety



03.17.22 – Kybele UKRAINE


04.20.20 – Podcast featuring Kybele Founder Dr. Medge Owen
01.22.20 – Kybele’s Armenia Work Highlighted in New York Times


12.17.19 – International Outreach Committee: Kybele Worldwide: Improving Access to Safe Obstetric Anesthesia Care in the Balkans
10.31.19 – With great enthusiasm, a Kybele team visited Macedonia
09.28.19 – Kybele’s Executive Director and Founder, Dr. Medge Owen, receives prestigious 2019 Goddard Distinguished Alumni and Staff Award
09.25.19 – Kybele Assists Ghana’s First Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
09.25.19 – Major Strides in Kybele’s Saving Lives at Birth Initiative in Ghana
09.25.19 – World-Renowned Musicians Benefit Kybele with Concert
09.25.19 – Kybele Launches Ukraine Project Site
09.25.19 – Students Return to Ghana with The Bridge Project
01.23.19 – Kybele Wins Prestigious Saving Lives at Birth Award


12.29.18 – Kybele 2018 Year-End Accomplishments
09.17.18 – Kybele Wins Prestigeous Peoples Choice Award for Saving Lives At Birth and Advances to Final Round
09.17.18 – Kybele Leads Innovative Triage Program in Ghana
04.19.18 – The Bridge Project: Students Serving Students Abroad
04.19.18 – Kybele Receives Major Gift from the Estate of Jean Fisher
02.21.18 – Novant Health and Kybele Host Global Health Symposium
02.21.18 – Reflecting on the State of Global Anesthesia – Guest Column


12.28.17 – Kybele 2017 Year-End Accomplishments
11.17.17 – Kybele Representation at International Meetings


04.13.16 – Armenia Ends a Successful 10-year Program
04.13.16 – MOU Signing Ceremony with Serbia
04.13.16 – Kybele Hosts 3rd Team Leader Summit
04.13.16 – Kybele Sponsors Inaugural Global Health Symposium at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center
04.13.16 – Kybele Team Members Present at CUGH


11.17.15 – Dr. Owen Speaks at Grand View University
10.17.15 – An Insider’s Look: The Passion Behind Kybele
10.01.15 – Kybele’s Ghana Work Highlighted in Every Woman Every Child Newborn Case Study
09.05.15 – #SaferSurgeryArmenia – Lifebox Blogs with Kybele Armenia Team Leader, Gordon Yuill
08.01.15 – SOAP Outreach Grant Awarded to Kybele Serbian Team Leaders
08.01.15 – MEBCI – Kybele Stakeholders Meeting
08.01.15 – Fulbright Scholar Dr. Craig Palmer to Work in Serbia
08.01.15 – Meet Brianne Kallam
03.24.15 – Dr. Kennedy Buntugu, A Man to Remember
03.24.15 – Meet Dayne Logan, New Editor of the Kybele Newsletter
03.24.15 – Update on Croatia Program
03.24.15 – Meet Kybele Intern, Sung Min Kim
03.24.15 – Welcome New Board Members
03.24.15 – The Ghana Journals – The Ongoing Global Health Mission (Amy Mauritz, Duke University)
03.24.15 – The Ghana Journals – The Ongoing Global Health Mission (Kayla Bryan, Duke University)
03.24.15 – Kybele Offers Global Health Experiences During Residency
03.24.15 – Lifebox and Kybele Partner with Armenian Society of Anaesthesiologists for Safer Surgery
03.24.15 – Shaping Tomorrow’s Global Health Workforce


10.31.14 – Kybele Partners with East Meets West Foundation/Breath of Life Program in Ghana
10.31.14 – Local Bank in Ghana is a Leader in Social Responsibility
10.31.14 – Kybele and Health Volunteers Oversees Partner to Send Doctor to Ghana
10.31.14 – In Memory of Dr. Jonathan Kumah
10.31.14 – Kybele Hosts 3 Ghanian NICU Nurses at Duke University Hospital
10.31.14 – Kybele Signs Collaboration Agreement with Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center
10.31.14 – Serbian Team Returns for 3rd Visit to The Clinical Center of Vojvodina in Novi Sad, Serbia
04.01.14 – Break Out Your Best Bow Tie! Kybele is Going to the Movies at SOAP!
04.01.14 – Kybele Volunteer Focus: Rohit Ramaswamy
04.01.14 – Meet Our Team Leader Summit Trainer, Romeck van Zeijl
02.15.14 – Kreating Change: New Kybele Membership Program
02.15.14 – Kybele Program Country Updates
02.13.14 – Sharing Good Practice Worldwide


12.31.13 – Major Accomplishments for Kybele in 2013
11.27.13 – Selfless at Thanksgiving: Local Group of Volunteers on Service Trip to Ghana
11.01.13 – Kybele Receives $2 million in Collaboration with PATH to Improve Neonatal Outcomes in Ghana
07.26.13 – Wake Forest Baptist Nurse Selected as American Academy of Nursing Fellow
07.24.13 – Volunteer Spotlight: Dr. Fiona Bryce
06.13.13 – Dr. Michael Rieker Recognized for Nurse Anesthesia Program in Ghana
04.10.13 – The Pain of Childbirth – Differing Cultural Perceptions
01.03.13 – Kybele Georgia Article to be Published
01.03.13 – Kybele Meets with Former First Lady of Ghana
01.01.13 – Baby Naming Customs


12.31.12 – Owen Receives Global Health Award
12.13.12 – Local Doctor Delivers Educational Tools to Ghana
12.08.12 – Assisting Women a World Away
11.30.12 – Parker Lovell – Reflections on Ghana
07.30.12 – ARMENIA – Trip Summary 2012
07.30.12 – Reflections on My Time with Kybele
06.18.12 – Kybele is a Gates Grant Finalist
03.08.12 – Medical Practice Establishes Nurse Travel Scholarships
03.01.12 – Maternity Operating Theatre Launch at Ridge Hospital
03.01.12 – Kybele Launches 50@50 Monthly Donor Program
02.29.12 – The Salsa Doc
01.18.12 – Quality Improvement Initiatives Can Save Moms, Babies in Africa
01.17.12 – IASP Awards Kybele $20,000
01.17.12 – IJGO Clinical Article Released


12.01.11 – Ghanian Nurse Anaesthetists Visit the US
10.20.11 – Kybele receives $10,000 from The Lacy Foundation
09.30.11 – Nurse Anaesthesia Training School Announces Graduates
09.22.11 – Serving Above and Beyond: Spotlight on Dr. Yemi Olufolabi
09.15.11 – Meet Gail Hollander
08.20.11 – Out of My Comfort Zone
06.06.11 – Partnership to Provide Maternity Operation Theatre
06.04.11 – Meet Team Member, Dr. Wendy Gore-Hickman
04.16.11 – Request for Applications: SOAP/Kybele Grant
04.16.11 – Kybele Wins SOAP Award
02.28.11 – Dr. Lisa Councilman Invited to Participate in US-Georgia Healthcare Conference
02.28.11 – Donations Making a Difference
02.28.11 – Meet Louisa Oates, Kybele Intern
02.28.11 – Organizations Work Together to Deliver Medical Equipment
12.01.10 – Kybele Receives $10,000 from The Lacy Foundation
11.01.10 – OAA Pencilpoint Article – Georgia 2009
10.16.10 – Midwives from Ghana Visit Winston-Salem
06.03.10 – Kansas Journalist Wins SOAP Award
06.03.10 – Meet Sammy Dodoo
04.26.10 – Member Spotlight: Shelma Williams
02.24.10 – Kybele Mourns Loss of Dr. Sashi


11.13.09 – Kybele Receives $20,000 Support from IASP
11.01.09 – OAA Pencilpoint Magazine Highlights Kybele Romania Program
10.05.09 – Dr. Owen Receives the IARS Innovation in Education Award
10.01.09 – Dr. Marge Sedensky Recognized for Her Kybele Work
09.23.09 – Delays, Major Cause of Maternal Deaths in Ghana – Kybele Article
09.21.09 – Ghana Ministry of Health to Regularize Foreign Voluntary Medical Service
07.01.09 – Local Magazine Highlights Ghana Nurses
06.09.09 – Ghanaian Nurses Train in U.S. to Improve Childbirth Conditions
06.04.09 – Ghanian Nurses Visit US to Learn Life Saving Skills
05.29.09 – PR – Ghana Nurses Visit Sara Lee Center for Women’s Health
05.02.09 – Dr. Owen Receives SOAP Teacher of the Year Award
01.01.09 – Kybele Team Article Published in International Journal


12.30.08 – Quilt Raffled for Kybele Cause
12.01.08 – Our State Magazine Highlights Kybele
10.21.08 – Doctors Deliver the Goods to Ghana
09.13.08 – Univ. of Kansas Presents Award to Dr. Medge Owen
09.10.08 – Traveling Scholar Award Announced
08.16.08 – Medical Gains Made May be Lost; S&W Doctor Part of Group Helping Georgia
08.13.08 – Conflict (in Georgia) Has Reverberations in Triad
07.22.08 – Linen Drive Project in Ghana
05.06.08 – Georgian Doctor Visits U.S. for First Time with Kybele
01.20.08 – Local Doctor Assists at Hospital in Republic of Georgia
01.09.08 – Dr. Medge Owen Nominated for National Award


12.07.07 – Kybele Receives $20,000 Support From IASP
11.01.07 – Dr. Brittany Clyne Reaches Out To Women Around the Corner and Around the Globe
10.25.07 – Kybele Receives $900 Support From Hopscotch Adoptions
09.14.07 – Kybele Receives $10,000 Support from The Lacy Foundation
08.17.07 – Kybele Receives $5,000 Support From SOAP
08.07.07 – Kybele Receives $30,000 Support from OAA
08.01.07 – Kybele Foundation Trip To Brazil
03.09.07 – Kybele Receives $2,000 Support From The Foundation for Purposeful Living
02.09.07 – Kybele Coordinates Non-Medical Service Project in Ghana
02.01.07 – Obstetric Anesthesia in Georgia and Armenia
01.25.07 – Local Health Care Workers Plan Medical Teaching Trip to Ghana
01.11.07 – Kybele Receives $5,000 Support From B.Braun


11.01.06 – New Turkish Textbook Released
09.01.06 – Improving Childbirth in the Far Corners of the World
07.01.06 – Delivering a Basic Human Right
01.01.06 – Individuals on the Move – Fulbright Academy News


04.01.05 – SOAP International Outreach – The New Frontier


11.28.04 – Obstetric Anesthesia Training in Turkey
11.23.04 – Two Triad Women Join Forces to Help Improve Conditions for Mothers in Other Countries
09.29.04 – Say No to Cesarean Section – Turkish Article


Kybele E-Newsletter

Several times a year, Kybele publishes an online newsletter highlighting programs, events, achievements, and other related information.

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Award will be used by the global nonprofit to scale an innovative obstetric triage system that dramatically reduces wait time and improves maternal and neonatal healthcare across Ghana

WASHINGTON – Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenges Canada has awarded Kybele-Ghana $491,480 USD to scale up an innovative triage system to high-risk obstetric hospitals. Funds matched by other contributors will bring the 2 year award sum to $984,069 USD. The Saving Lives at Birth challenge calls on the brightest minds to identify and extend transformative prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns around the globe. Out of 500 applications worldwide, 10 finalists were shortlisted to present their groundbreaking solutions that have the potential to drastically reduce maternal and newborn mortality. Of these, only 4 were selected to move forward to negotiate awards.

The program leverages collective resources of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada (funded by the Government of Canada), UK’s Department of International Development (DFID), and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). Launched in 2011, Saving Lives at Birth is currently in its eighth award round. To date, the Partners have funded 115 innovative tools and approaches, aiming to address the 303,000 maternal deaths, 2.7 million neonatal deaths, and 2.6 million stillbirths that occur each year.

According to the World Health Organization, Ghana has approximately 319 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, a rate thirteen times higher than in the US. While institutional delivery is proposed as a method for reducing poor pregnancy outcomes, few initiatives address the long delays women face when arriving at the hospital. In Ghana, childbirth facilities operate a first-come, first-serve system, leading to treatment delays that sometimes take days for women who present with dangerous conditions such as haemorrhage and pre-eclampsia.

“Maternal mortality rates in regional hospitals are two to three times higher than the national average,” said Dr. Medge Owen, the project lead and Founder of Kybele. “That is why we developed our successful pilot program at The Greater Accra Regional Hospital, one of Ghana’s largest birthing facilities. The funding will allow us to scale this work across Ghana and with the goal of saving lives.”

Kybele designed the obstetric triage system to reduce waiting time and prioritize treatment for high-risk obstetric patients and neonates. The program was developed by a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, implementation scientists and Ghana Health Service leaders to ensure that the clinical innovation was integrated into the health system and was acceptable to local staff.  At the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, performing 7,000-8,000 births per year, patient waiting time from arrival to evaluation decreased from 40 minutes to 5 minutes with improved treatment strategies.

This award will allow Kybele to scale the pilot to other high-volume referral hospitals across Ghana with the goal of creating independent, self-supporting obstetric triage systems. The program will ensure rapid assessment for all women, prompt prioritization of women at risk, and the establishment of risk-appropriate, evidence-based high quality care plans.  Kybele-Ghana estimates the funding from Saving Lives at Birth will allow them to reach at least 300 clinicians and over 60,000 pregnant women and newborns. In addition to Dr. Owen, an obstetric anesthesiologist at Wake Forest School of Medicine, other project leaders include Dr. Rohit Ramaswamy, a quality improvement and implementation specialist at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill, Dr. Emmanuel Srofenyoh, Chief Medical Officer at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital and Dr. Fiona Bryce, obstetrician gynecologist from Richmond, North Yorkshire, England. Five years post-project, the organization expects maintenance of improved obstetric triage practices under local leadership.

About Kybele

Kybele-Ghana is the Ghanaian arm of Kybele—a global leader in health system strengthening, internationally recognized for improving the quality and safety of healthcare during childbirth in low- and middle-income countries. Kybele teams consist of medical experts in anesthesiology, obstetrics, and neonatology and implementation scientists. We establish partnerships with health ministries and local leaders to develop innovative, cost-effective solutions to healthcare problems. Our rigorous approach has been chronicled in over 25 peer-reviewed publications. Since its formation in 2001, Kybele has successfully implemented multifaceted programs with sustained impact in 13 countries in Africa and Eastern Europe with over $4 million of support from governments, institutions, and foundations and in partnership with Novant Health. Kybele is based in Winston-Salem, NC. Visit www.kybeleworldwide.org to learn more.

For more information, please contact

Erin Pfeiffer


Grants Manager



As we continue to celebrate our 20th anniversary year, Kybele board member Dr. Shahla Namak shares her Why Kybele Story. Originally from Iraq, Dr. Namak’s personal history and experience as a physician living through two wars allows her to meet our Kybele partners in other locations with true empathy. In addition, for Dr. Namak, her ability to give back – leading education and seeing the results first-hand – brings her a sense of joy and fulfillment. Copyright © 2021 Kybele, Inc.


In honor of our 20th Anniversary year, Kybele has created a series of video interviews about Kybele’s work. This video was shot and edited by Kybele Media Consultant,  Dayne Logan and features Kybele staff members, Kimber Whanger and Erin Pfeiffer.  Copyright © 2021 Kybele, Inc.


The Bridge Project is a community outreach limb of Kybele designed to serve at-risk girls in Ghana through education. This video highlights a true example of students serving students, with testaments of the impact The Bridge Project made on both American and Ghanaian youth. (March 2016)


Video summary of Kybele’s work and impact in Ghana, displaying the initial hospital conditions at Ridge Regional Hospital when Kybele began work there. These conditions sadly are representative of many health institutions in Ghana. (May 2015)


TV News Channel 9 in Novi Sad did a short clip on the Kybele team visit to Serbia.
(June 2015) 


Serbian Host, Dr. Borislava Pujic and Fulbright Scholar and Kybele-Serbia Team Member, Dr. Craig Palmer were interviewed on Serbian television program.  (June 2015)


This video was created by Kathi Barnhill, Walidah Muhammed, and Joe Jowers as part of a larger documentary film project created in 2013/2014.  This video shows the triage training process (the first of its kind in Ghana) using methods created by Kybele at Ridge Regional Hospital. (January 2015)


Dr. Medge Owen, a professor at Wake Forest School of Medicine and an obstetric anesthesiologist at Forsyth Medical Center, received The Global Women’s Health Award from the Maya Angelou Center for Women’s Health and Wellness in Winston-Salem for her work with Kybele. (September 2012)


Riders from Cash Lovell Riding Academy and students from Forsyth Country Day School in Winston-Salem, NC visit with the former First Lady of Ghana. These students, along with their peers, members of the Kybele team, and Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc. an international adoption agency, collaborated to bring computer equipment, medical supplies, school supplies, and other materials to several local Ghanaian schools and an orphanage. 
(November 2012)


Award winning videographer, Larry Hatteberg, traveled to Ghana with Kybele to highlight the work of Dr. Medge Owen and the Kybele Team. This video was part of a two-part series shown on local Kansas television. (September 2010)


Video by Larry Hatteberg. Thanks to Kybele, Douglas Dewhurst and his wife now have a healthy son. (September 2010)


High school student, Julie Jenner from Texas traveled with Kybele as part of the Linen Drive Project.  She created this video of her experience in Ghana.  The Linen Drive Project was a collaboration to provide bed linens, towels, layettes, drapes, and other linens for use at Ridge Hospital, Accra. (June 2008)


A Ghanaian nurse gives testimony to the work of Kybele. Video produced by Larry Hatteberg.(September 2010)


Kybele informational video made possible with assistance from Mary Dalton, Assoc. Prof. of Communication, Wake Forest University and Ellen Hendrix, LLC. (January 2007)


Kybele receives coverage on Ghana television news. (January 2007)


Kybele receives coverage on Croatia national television. (September 2005)


Kybele was highlighted on national Turkish news.  In this live painless birth, a mother is able to witness, pain free, the joy of childbirth with the help of the Kybele team, including Turkish doctors. The coverage includes a mother’s testimony to the painless birth and the happiness it brings her. She expresses the hope that all women can have the same experience that the Kybele team has provided her. (2004)


Kybele Founder and Director, Dr. Medge Owen, was interviewed by Justin Harvey on the Anesthesia Success podcast. Dr. Owen shares poignant stories of Kybele’s formation and early history as well as how the organization has grown and expanded in its work to work with local champions to make the world safer for mothers and babies. (April 2020)


Kybele team leader Oleg Turkot was interviewed on Ukrainian news in 2019 regarding Kybele’s new program initiatives to improve obstetric anesthesia care. Work has begun with two hospitals in Ternopil, a city in western Ukraine.

Kybele’s Honors the International Day of the Girls

In 2011, United Nations General Assembly declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. Kybele highlighted our own history through this social media video. 

Kybele’s Executive Director and Founder, Dr. Medge Owen, receives prestigious 2019 Goddard Distinguished Alumni and Staff Award

The Goddard Education Foundation established the Goddard Distinguished Alumni and Friends of Public Education Award to celebrate, honor, and recognize the service, success, and achievements of Goddard Public Schools alumni, staff, and friends who are making a difference. In April 2019, Kybele’s Executive Director and Founder, Dr. Medge Owen, received the prestigious 2019 Distinguished Alumni and Staff Award, entering into the Goddard Education Foundation Hall of Fame.


 Kybele Founder and Director, Dr. Medge Owen, was interviewed by Justin Harvey on the Anesthesia Success podcast. Dr. Owen shares poignant stories of Kybele’s formation and early history as well as how the organization has grown and expanded in its work to work with local champions to make the world safer for mothers and babies. (April 2020)