Over 303,000 women die due to childbirth, the majority in developing countries. One major cause is infection due to birthing condition
To ameliorate the challenge ,a non-governmental organization, Health Education and Empowerment Initiative (HEDEN) has initiated the distribution of free birthing kits to pregnant women in community health centers in Ifo local government area of Ogun State.
These women and babies can be save by providing simple item like a clean razor blade and string to tie off the umbilical cord.
The birth kits are distributed by the group with the support of Birthing Kits Foundation, Australia who are partners on the project.
The kits contain a sheet of plastic, gauze, string a blade soap and gloves. The aim is to improve birthing outcomes and ensure that birth practices are clean and safe.
A program officer of the organization Abigail Adebisi stated that, the kits are distributed to registered pregnant women at the community health centers. And only a pack is given to each pregnant woman and recipients are educated on the correct and proper use of Birthing Kits, including the safe disposal of waste such as sharp blades in the Birthing Kits.
The distribution of the Birthing Kits according to her, will give rise to access by women who don’t have access to sterile supplies at childbirth.
She mentioned that the distribution of the kits was integrated into the organization’s monthly Sweet Mother Program in the community health centers, as this will help reach many more women during their ante-natal clinics.
According to the Executive Director of the organization, Mrs. Folasade Ofurune, when Birthing Kits are distributed and used, there will be a reduction in childbirth-related infections and increase in safe deliveries. Since the distribution of the birth kits requires registration at the health centers it will increase ante-natal care and significant births at the health centers. The distribution will be taking place in the 10 community health centers in Ifo Local Government Area of the state within the next one year.
Ofurune further mentioned that the target communities are hard-to-reach and poverty is prevalent. From HEDEN intervention, we observed low maternal and child health knowledge and inadequate awareness of nutrition and hygiene practice, including safe delivery of babies.
Often, these pregnant women arrive in labor at the facility with incomplete or no birthing kits at all. Hence the distribution will eliminate chances of neonatal tetanus as result of severing umbilical cords with rusty blades; eliminate number of women giving birth on bare floors and risking deadly sepsis infections, hence, contribute to the achievement of SDG 3. namely good health and wellbeing