I walked confidently to the reception of the maternity ward telling them that I had called earlier about my waters breaking and that I had been told by a midwife to come into hospital.
I was taken into a lovely and clean birthing suite. There was a bed, machines, a bathroom, a lounge chair, a television, basin, chairs – all the necessities.
I had two lovely midwives and an obstetrician checking to see my progress using only completely clean and sterilised implements. I was later hooked up to a monitor and had a clean cannula inserted.
I really had nothing to worry about, I was in good hands, I had everything I needed to deliver my son safely.
After 5 hours, my son was delivered. His umbilical cord cut with clean and sterilised implements. His eyes wiped with a sterilised cloth and I was looked after with the best of care and hygiene.
But, unfortunately, many women in Uganda have the complete opposite experience.
- Half of all women in Uganda give birth alone without a skilled health worker
- 1 woman in 49 dies in childbirth [in Uganda]. To put this into context, in Australia the number is 1 in 8,100.
- The United Nations (WHO) estimates that 289,000 women die annually in childbirth. Developing countries account for 99% of these deaths.
- This means that on average, 1 woman in 27 dies from pregnancy-related causes.
- The majority of deaths occur around the time of delivery
- 43% of women are not delivering with skilled birth attendants and are often delivering in unclean conditions (especially women in remote areas).
- Many health facilities operate under poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions and the birthing kits are still relevant to use in health facilities
- Infection is a contributing factor of maternal death, often introduced at delivery
- The proportion of newborn deaths of all under 5 child deaths, is increasing as this needs more focus in our interventions
- 33% of all child deaths in Uganda are newborn with infection responsible for a significant number of these
- Infection can be introduced during delivery, cutting and care of the cord.
This is where Vision Sisters are making a huge difference.
Vision Sisters is a new movement of Australian women who, with faith and compassion, join together to assist women in the poorest countries in the most practical way. This year, their goal is to save the lives of mothers and babies in Uganda by providing 10,000 clean birthing kits and providing training to health workers.
Although a birthing kit is basic and costs only $3 (less than a cup of coffee), it can help prevent infection and save lives.
Each birthing kit contains six items needed to ensure a clean delivery.
To be honest with you, I cannot even imagine being in a situation where I did not have the basic things to give birth safely. When I walked into the hospital, laid down on my bed in a lovely birthing suit, I was extremely lucky. For the women of Uganda, receiving this albeit small and basic kit I’m sure would mean the world and the more women (and men) who can get behind this wonderful movement, the better. Everyone should have the right to a clean and safe childbirth. Everyone.
You can help fundraise for these birthing kits or even get a group together to pack birthing kits. For more information on how to register, visit http://www.worldvision.com.au/vision-sisters.