Birthing Kits Save Lives

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.

35 year old Asha holds her 3‐month old baby girl, Maria, and gets health counseling from Voluntary Health Worker, Matthew. Matthew is one of 9094 Village Health Team workers trained by World Vision Uganda, who provide medical support and advice to pregnant women and new mothers. Photo by Jon Warren, World Vision

35 year old Asha holds her 3‐month old baby girl, Maria, and gets health counseling from Voluntary Health Worker, Matthew. Matthew is one of 9094 Village Health Team workers trained by World Vision Uganda, who provide medical support and advice to pregnant women and new mothers. Photo by Jon Warren, World Vision

  • 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.

Birthing Kits
Yes, the birthing kits are small and simple but they are a cheap and effective solution for women located in the poorest and remote communities. If more items were to be added to the kit, it would mean it would weigh more and the cost of the kit would increase. This would then lower the number of kits that could be produced and sent. The simplicity of the kits also means that women are more likely to use it.

35 year old Asha holds her 3‐month old baby girl, Maria, and gets health counseling from Voluntary Health Worker, Matthew. Matthew is one of 9094 Village Health Team workers trained by World Vision Uganda, who provide medical support and advice to pregnant women and new mothers. Photo by Jon Warren, World Vision

25‐year‐old Regina holds her seven month old daughter Tina. “Matthew has taught us so much,” says Regina. “I delivered my first two children from home. We didn’t have people then to encourage us to go to the hospital. I lost a child three weeks after birth. I don’t know why that child died. The baby had pneumonia and the doctors said he swallowed fluid at birth.” It was July 2012. She’d named the boy Peter. Photo by Jon Warren, World Vision

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.

vision sisters
Please show your support by joining Vision Sisters on Facebook here.

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman - a lifestyle and parenting blog.She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a Mum to her 4-year-old son, 2 month old daughter, two chickens, one dog and a fish called Bob and a wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little cottage on the outskirts of Brisbane.

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9 Comments

  1. September 15, 2015 / 10:12 am

    What a fantastic initiative- it’s horrifying to think that in some countries, giving birth is still the most dangerous thing a woman can do.

  2. September 15, 2015 / 5:48 pm

    I am absolutely 100% going to support this. Thank you for letting us all know about it. What an important cause. xx

  3. September 15, 2015 / 10:35 pm

    What a fantastic idea! 🙂 Wonder if there’s anything similar in the UK. I’ll have a Google.

  4. September 16, 2015 / 7:51 am

    We in the developed world take so much for granted. Such simple ordinary things we have can make such a difference. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. September 16, 2015 / 8:16 pm

    Those statistics blow me away, Eva. What a brilliant initiative this is. Good on you for raising awareness x #teamIBOT