Every minute a women dies of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Ninety-nine percent of these deaths occur in developing nations. For every woman who dies in childbirth, another 30 women incur injuries and infections, which are often preventable. (Source: World Health Organization.)
Here's what goes into a clean birth kit.
- Soap (for the birth attendant to wash her hands). Use a hotel-size soap or cut a regular bar of soap into 1/8-sized pieces. (Microwave the bar of soap for 30 seconds to soften it for cutting).
- One pair of plastic gloves (for the birth attendant to wear).
- Five squares of gauze (to wipe the mum’s perineum and baby’s eyes). Gauze pieces should be about 10×10 centimeters or 3×3 inches.
- One blade (to cut the cord). You can buy individually wrapped sterile blades at the pharmacist or buy utility blades (much cheaper) at the hardware store. We teach the women to boil the blades for sterilization, so utility blades work just fine.
- Three pieces of strong string (2 for tying the cord, 1 for “just in case”). String should be about 30 centimeters or 10 inches long.
- One plastic sheet (for a clean birthing surface). Sheet should be approximately 1×1 meter or 1×1 yard and can be purchased at your hardware or paint store.
- One sandwich-size ziplock bag (to pack the contents).
I plan on making the kits in the next couple of weeks and shipping them to Australia. If you would like to help out, get me your kits (or elements of the kits) by 5/15. Alternately you could make a donation directly to the organization. A $10 donation will make 5 clean birth kits. Check here for details.