a little east of reality

Saturday, May 31, 2008

zonta birthing kits

I spent most of today helping at a Zonta project. Fund-raising is done during the year to buy the components for birthing kits (with the help of a dollar-for-dollar AusAID grant) and then once a year there's a big assembly day. This morning we set up the hall and organised all the components (cut the Chux wipes, folded the plastic, counted it all into lots so that each table had enough of each thing for 240 complete kits). In the afternoon more people arrived and we assembled all 3000 birthing kits. We actually finished in half the allotted time, so next year the goal will be 5000.

A little background info:

Of the hundreds of thousands of women who die each year in childbirth, 99% are from developing countries. For each woman who dies this way, another 30 women incur injuries and infections - many of which are painful, disabling, embarrassing and lifelong. Providing clean birthing conditions significantly improves the survival rate.

The idea is provide the basic items needed to prevent infection to mother and baby:

1 square metre of thick plastic to provide a clean birth site
1 pair of gloves to prevent the birth attendant transmitting germs to mother and baby
1 sterile razor to cut the umbilical cord
2 sterile umbilical cord clamps (one for the mother, one for the baby)
3 pieces of clean gauze to wipe birth canal secretions from the baby's eyes (decreases the incidence of future eye infections)
1 piece of soap
1 clean cloth
All contained in a small press seal plastic bag.

I really enjoyed being involved in the project. It's such a direct and practical way to help. This year the birthing kits we made will be sent to women in Uganda (last year it was Papua New Guinea).

Labels: , ,