Help Women in Remote Regions have Healthy Babies

by Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia)
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Women receive birthing kits Kameke, Eastern Uganda
Women receive birthing kits Kameke, Eastern Uganda

Egoli Africa is a not for profit organisation based in the Netherlands dedicated to the promotion of empowering people in Uganda to overcome the challenges of their circumstances. One such circumstance is the high incidence of maternal and neonatal mortality. With only one medical centre servicing the rural target area and a catchment of around 8000 community members, many birthing mothers deliver at home, predominantly without medical assistance. This all too often ends tragically, with an infant mortality rate of 88 per 1000 live births*. It’s difficult to imagine but as a comparison, the rate is 4 in 1000 live births in Australia**.

With a committed purpose to promote the empowerment of women, Egoli Africa and BKFA are natural partners and BKFA are thrilled to contribute to their mission with the supply of Birthing Kits for a safe and clean birth.  The Good Shepherd Medical Centre in Kameke will support the program by recording how many birthing kits and to whom they are distributed. This data is critical as it will allow important analysis to be completed to measure the success of the program.

Egoli Africa say

" the kits are important to women as they now have some basics that will help them during delivery. Because most women give birth at home without any assistance, they don't have such materials. The materials are simple, but oh so important to have when giving birth”

Quite simply, the Birthing Kit is basic with just 7 small items included, but they are undeniably helping to give birthing women and their babies a better chance.

Will you help us to continue our work? Just $3 will provide one Birthing Kit.

To all our donors, thank you so much for your support of Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia).  To find out more about BKFA, please click here.

 

*District Health Office Data, Pallisa District, Eastern Uganda, 2015

**State of the World’s Mothers, Save the Children, 2015

Links:

Receiving BKFA kits through Think Humanity
Receiving BKFA kits through Think Humanity

60 million women give birth each year with the assistance of a Traditional Birth Attendant or with no assistance at all.

The United Nations (W.H.O.) estimates that 385,000 women die annually in childbirth. Developing countries account for 99% of these deaths. For every woman who dies in childbirth, another 30 women incur injuries and infections – many of which are often painful, disabling, embarrassing and lifelong.

BKFA works with many grass-root organisations in remote locations to help ensure that more women can access a cleaner and safer birth environment.

One such partner is Think Humanity in Uganda.

“In 2009 while giving out mosquito nets in a very remote village in a refugee camp, a pregnant Congolese woman came up to Beth from Think Humanity. She did not speak English and she asked for a translator.

Tearfully she began to tell the story. Just that week her pregnant friend, Esther had gone to the camp clinic to deliver her first child. She was turned away because she did not have a plastic sheet or a “mama kit.”

Later they found her dead in the bush with her deceased baby lying alongside her.

Beth heard that these stories were all too common in refugee camps in Uganda.

When she returned to the USA, she searched online for birthing kits and e-mailed two organizations.

Being exhausted from traveling for two days, she went to bed. That next morning Beth woke to a positive response from Birthing Kit Foundation Australia.

This partnership has given hope to refugee women. Women like Esther no longer will be turned away to die, scared and alone in the bush.

The partnership between Think Humanity and BKFA is only possible due to generous donations from the public. In order to continue the creation and distribution of birthing kits, BKFA needs big-hearted supporters. For every $3 you donate, one more birthing kit can be distributed to women in need and the loss of women like Esther can help to be prevented.

Links:

A Midwifery Seminar Teacher with a birthing kit
A Midwifery Seminar Teacher with a birthing kit

Thank you, your donation has given new direction and hope to women and babies in DR Congo, a country rated 186 out of 187 on the WHO Human Development Index.

DR Congo is desperate and your donation is saving lives.

This country does not have the capacity to provide women in remote regions with a trained health professional. The women and babies are fortunate if they can have a Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) at the birth. Our role has been to educate 900 of these TBAs as much as is possible to give these women the best chance they can to survive.

July 2014 in Uvira, South Kivu Province, the very first Train the Trainer program in DR Congo was organised by our partner Dr Luc Mulimbalimba Masururu.

Here 4 trained Seminar Teachers taught 18 qualified health professional from 3 provinces of South Kivu, North-Kivu and Shaba (Katanga) over 3 weeks of training in non-literate education techniques of Traditional Birth Attendants. 2 health professionals were selected from each of the following Districts, Uvira, Fizi, Mwenga, Nyiragongo, Beni, Shabunda, Kalemie, Malemba Nkulu, and Bukama. After training 4000 Birthing Kits were dispensed between the participants.

In a country haunted by war, where rape is endemic and tragedy abounds the training includes the basics in rape and sexual violence counselling, HIV/Aids counselling as well as the usual topics of prenatal and postnatal care, how to use a birthing kit, how to use local items when a birthing kit is not available, recognition of danger signs in the pregnancy when a woman should be transported to a health clinic and many general health and midwifery topics.

Dr Luc reported “Our objective is for the training of trainer’s teachers to be able to train 78 communities in the three provinces, an approximate of 10 about 780-1500 traditional midwives and community health workers in a year. Lastly they will be involved in reducing poverty and promoting community development in their various villages.”

“We thank very much Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia) for supporting this program and we request that it not be the last, as the participants requested, it will be good to have the same program every year because we still have many districts with no health care facilities and whom this program may help a lot.”

There are now 3 provinces where the TBAs will have ongoing training and it is planned to expand the training into several other provinces over the next few years.

Funding of our expansion program in this most needy country is a high priority.

Our belief is that “no woman should die giving life”.

MST trainees talking to the local community
MST trainees talking to the local community
An impoverished Congolese mother, life is a hard
An impoverished Congolese mother, life is a hard

Links:

Recent training in the Afar Desert funded by the Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia) and run by the Afar Pastoral Development Association (APDA) has achieved outstanding results. In a one year a comprehensive programme, directed by the indefatigable Valerie Browning in 10 kebeles (neighbourhoods) of Dullassa, has empowered whole communities to stop harmful practices affecting females and leading to an improvement in their reproductive health. 

Steeped in illiteracy these communities clung to traditional practices that harmed birthing mothers leading to maternal and newborn death and injury Women extension workers along with traditional birth attendants (TBAs) were trained and deployed as agents of change. They led guided discussions designed to improve reproductive health and to stop FGM (genital mutilation), early marriage and marriage by force. 19,740 women and girls and their families were taught life skills in health, hygiene and nutrition. 13,200 pastoralist women and their families gained awareness and assistance in stopping harmful practices and 960 mothers achieved a safer and cleaner birth by using a delivery set or, as we know it, a birthing kit.

Those affected by the harmful practices were assisted, protected and counselled, while those who performed the practices were advised and reminded that the government can prosecute them. The APDA also employed three women to assemble a total of 5,000 birthing sets or birthing kits in their field office. They were distributed to the trained TBAs in the program.

All of this was achieved despite challenges which included mediating with neighbouring communities, flooding rains and convincing sceptical mothers that a trained TBA is better than giving birth with no assistance at all. 

The whole program, created from the experience and earlier successes of Valerie Browning and the APDA, has highlighted the enormous value of training and birthing kits in this challenging desert environment.

The entire community gathers to learn how to help
The entire community gathers to learn how to help

Birthing kits and training in Tamil Nadu

When Dalit (untouchable) women in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu give birth they must select one of two risky choices. They can either have their baby at home or go to a government hospital.  At home this will probably mean giving birth on a dirt floor in a dwelling with no running water.  The trip to hospital is little safer.  Undersupply or corruption have left the hospitals with huge infection risks in the form of dirty mattresses, unclean scalpels, no gloves, soap or clean ties. 

The Birthing Kit Foundation of Australia (BKFA) supplies birthing kits to and has educated over 1,000 traditional birth attendants in Tamil Nadu. Each one now takes a kit along for every birth she attends, whether it is for use at home or as a back-up when she accompanies a mother in a government facility.  A traditional birth attendant armed with a birthing kit can be a life saver wherever a birth takes place.

Education programs in Tamil Nadu, funded by the Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia), make sure more than just the traditional birth attendants get the message.  Husbands and caretakers get involved and find out how they can play a part in a clean, safe birth or act as a back-up if a woman does need hospital support.  Adolescent girls are also being educated on the health challenges they face when they become mothers.  For the first time whole communities in this state now understand the importance of a clean, safe and healthy birthing environment.

 

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Organization Information

Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia)

Location: Belair, SA - Australia
Website: http:/​/​www.bkfa.org.au
Project Leader:
Fiona Smith
Executive Director
Belair, SA Australia
$23,082 raised of $40,000 goal
 
396 donations
$16,918 to go
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