Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia)

The BKFA works with organisations and communities to provide a clean birthing environment for women in developing countries in order to reduce the incidence of infant and maternal mortality. We respect peoples' dignity and values and work according to principles of basic human rights. We raise awareness, provide support and resources and act as a catalyst for the creation of birth attendant training programmes and community development projects.
May 21, 2013

Help 1 million women and babies in Nigeria live

10% of the total global deaths of under 5 years old is in Nigeria. This is a country that needs your help.

Your donations are supporting our midwifery programs that give lifesaving information in a country with 1 million children dying under 5 annually. The Maternal Mortality Ratio in Nigeria is 840 : 100,000 and as mentioned previously the provision of birthing kits addresses only  one small aspect of what is killing the women and babies. To really have a sustainable solution in a community they need to be educated about all other aspects of health, hygiene, nutrition and midwifery.

Your donation has helped the Birthing Kit Foundation work with Sweet Mother International(SMI) to distribute its clean birthing kits along with local health training programs. In April this year SMI distributed 400 birthing kits at a seminar. They worked in collaboration with Lafia Hospital Apata Ibadan. Marton of Lafia Hospital is a community health worker of 23 years, who sensitised the 40 community birth attendants to the objectives and benefits of the kits. After the training each woman is given 7 kits to start with, knowing they can get top ups when needed as the supply is ongoing.

Another similar program was held at the Primary Health Care Centre Byazhin, Bwari Area council FCT Abuja in Nigeria. Here SMI worked with the Citizens Health Education and Development Initiative to hold its health training program. Many guests were at the opening of the program including the village heads of the 10 communities in Byazhin, nurses, TBA representatives and many pregnant and nursing mothers. Here the message is for the women to give birth at the hospital or clinic, however, if it is impossible to get the birthing mother to a clinic then a birthing kit supplies the basics for their clean birth. They have found that many deaths can be avoided by education and directing the pregnant mothers to the hospital or clinic with plenty of time. Much of the training is on prevention of malaria, prevention of HIV, hygiene, nutrition and responsible pregnancies and contraception.

We also partner with Rotary International, where 4,700 birthing kits were handed to the polio campaign coordinators for distribution within the northern states of Kano, Kaduna, Katsina and Borno as well as the southern state of Imo. These birthing kits were distributed in November and December 2012 to birth attendants in rural areas. 3,000 birthing kits were also distributed in April 2013 to the 20 selected hospitals participating in the Maternal and Child Health Project. These birthing kits are stored in the health facilities and will be distributed to Skilled Birth Attendants in the surrounding communities when they are trained by project midwives.

As Nigeria is such a high risk country for maternal and child health it will continue to be a priority country for the foundation.

Feb 15, 2013

Help needy women in Ethiopia make birthing kits

An Afar girl who will one day use a  birthing kit
An Afar girl who will one day use a birthing kit

Success!!!  3 organisations in Ethiopia are now make their own birthing kits, while providing an income for disadvantaged women.

Over 30,000 birthing kits were made locally in Ethiopia.

The program targets impoverished women who earn an income while assembling kits so as to become more independent.

A recent monitoring visit in November 2012 by two BKFA directors reinforced the success of this program that spreads across Ethiopia to the Afar, Tigray and central regions.

Thank you for making it possible for women in these regions to look after their own women and babies – sustainability is being achieved.

Desta Mender is an extension of the Hamlin Fistula Hospital. It is where women with untreatable fistulas from severe childbirth injury, live in beautiful surroundings and now call home.  The production of their 10,000 kits was part of the re-integration program for 5 women who were each paid 5000 Birr. They formed the “Birthing Kit Club” with the aim to make them financially independent. As the project coordinator writes “we have learnt that they are waiting for the second phase with bated breath”       

At Abraham’s Oasis in Tigray region there is one qualified nurse and one vulnerable woman, who are assembling the kits and being paid 350 Birr per month. They are employing an extra helper to finish the making of their 10,000 kits in time.

In the Afar region Valerie Browning through the Afar Pastoralist Development Association organised for 10,000 kits to be made. Similarly local people were employed to make the kits. To accompany this there was also extra training of the Health Extension Workers with 73 from 36 kabelles attending a 1 day course – again funded by the BKFA.

The Foundation again thanks its supporters who have enabled us to initiate early sustainability through 3 partner organisations to large sections of Ethiopia.

Mother and baby inside their home
Mother and baby inside their home
Nov 12, 2012

Help Pigmies - the most impoverished in DR Congo

Pigmie woman asleep in her home
Pigmie woman asleep in her home

Thank you for helping the Pigmies who are the poorest and most disadvantaged people  in DR Congo. The life of a Pigmie woman is difficult, with marriage often at 13, and they are the main workers in the family, carrying heavy loads on their backs from an early age. Their home of North Kivu Province is very remote with war still a constant in their lives.

The Pigmie people are nomadic people with illiteracy at 99% as they believe school is a waste of time. Basic hygiene is non existant with 99% of births are at home.

Thank you for helping to fund the midwifery, health, hygiene and nutrition training seminar. It ran for 3 days with 100 traditional midwives from the 10 villages of Kasenyi, Bushara, Bukumu, Bugeregere, Byungo, Karubamba, Muja, Karungu, Kanyati and Mutaho in North Kivu province being the recipients.

These communities are so remote that the trainers had to travel 400 kms to Goma the venue for the seminar. The Pigmies themselves were transported up to 70 km by motor bike to the venue. This is a region that is still at war and soldiers accompanied the trainers and the women for their safety.

Dr Luc Mulimbalimba Masururu on an earlier visit had observed that hygiene was non existant, they birthed onto leaves, used sharper leaves to cut the umbilical cord or else repeatedly used a dirty blade for several deliveries, and there was no hand washing. The people sleep on leaves in rudimentary huts with dirt floors. They are lucky to have one blanket. They go for months without washing and smell offensively. They have skin diseases and infections purely from the poor personal hygiene.

The hotel they were booked into for the seminar, refused their accommodation as they were so dirty and smelly that other patrons at the venue would have left. Dr Luc fortunately found alternative accommodation at short notice.

The first day of the seminar was on hygiene and Dr Luc was thrilled when  they all came the next day bathed and clean. There is no lack of water in DR Congo as there are many rivers, they just had no idea that bathing was necessary or beneficial to their health.

2000 birthing kits were made at Luvungi Hospital, DR Congo, with the contents being locally sourced and 2000 kits came from Australia. Each birth attendant left with 40 kits.

Dr Luc established midwifery clubs so the birth attendants could meet monthly to reinforce their lessons learned. It is an opportunity for fellowship and exchanging of experiences. There was so much learned at the seminar, however, being illiterate they could not read the information again, so the midwifery clubs are important reinforcement opportunities.

The seminar was so successful that Dr Luc is looking at holding another one next year.

Pigmies receiving birthing kits from Dr Luc
Pigmies receiving birthing kits from Dr Luc

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