More than 100 people recently gathered at the warehouse at IMA World Health’s headquarters in New Windsor, Maryland, to volunteer IMA’s first “SMK Day” event. The goal was to pack 3,000 Safe Motherhood Kits™ or SMKs in three hours.
After a fast-paced morning working in shifts in an assembly line, the volunteers easily surpassed the goal, packing more than 3,500 SMKs with essential clean and sterile supplies for a safer childbirth.
Supplies for these kits were made possible by indvidual donors and local business leaders.
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These items included a plastic sheet, an absorbent underpad, surgical gloves, gauze pads, a sterile umbilical tie and scalpel, soap, a washcloth and a baby layette. This set of simple but essential items in developing countries and disaster zones to help to prevent maternal infection and support maternal and newborn child health.
When the assembly lines reached capacity, other volunteers cut plastic sheeting to size, folded baby blankets and prepared boxes of SMKs for shipment. In the past year, more than 13,000 SMKs were distributed to IMA partner clinics in Haiti,DR Congo and South Sudan to help reduce maternal mortality.
SMK Day volunteers ranged in age and background, with our youngest “volunteer” sleeping in an infant carrier on his mother’s chest. Local Soroptimist, Kiwanis and Rotary clubs sent representatives, and many local churches and schools were also represented. Some came from as far as Villanova University located outside Philadelphia, PA, and groups also came from McDaniel College, Gettysburg College and Frederick Community College.
“I am very pleased with how the local community rallied together to support this important project,” said Rick Santos, President and CEO of IMA World Health. “It was exciting to see such a diverse and eager group taking time out of their Saturday to serve others in need. Everyone was really bustling and working hard, and the best part is that thousands of people will benefit from these Safe Motherhood Kits™.”
A special thanks to donors and volunteers for joining together to make a great impact for expectant mothers and their babies! IMA is already looking forward to the next SMK Day in late spring.