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Bloggers for Birth Kits: Help reduce maternal mortality with clean birth kits

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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.)

Chances are if you’re a mother reading this blog, you are not one of them. Most likely you delivered your baby safely and hygienically in a hospital, birth center, or possibly even at home under the expertise of an experienced midwife. 

No doubt you had access to doctors, nurses, midwives, and other medical professionals throughout your pregnancy, delivery, and postnatal care, as well as access to drugs and medication and surgical procedures when necessary.

But hundreds of thousands of mothers around the world aren’t as lucky as you.

The organization that my husband and I volunteer for (YWAM Medical Ships) regularly sends teams of volunteer doctors, dentists, optometrists, ophthalmologists, nurses, midwives, educators, and other volunteers to address the needs of the poor in Papua New Guinea. (This is where Ryan is now.) We provide dental services, eyeglasses, cataract surgeries, vaccines, primary health care, education, and other crucial services to those who most need it.

{my friend and coworker, jennifer perry, distributes birth kits to women in rural papua new guinea.}

We have campaigns going all over the world to gather toothbrushes, toothpaste, eyeglasses, and other medical supplies… but we are running desperately low on birthing kits.

This is where you come in.

 

Bloggers for Birth Kits is a simple initiative from the Love A Mama Community to rally bloggers to reach out and help other moms in Papua New Guinea. These moms may live in a different nation to you, speak another language, look a little different, or have a very different lifestyle… but they are mothers with the same heart. Mothers who desire to deliver healthy, happy babies just as we do. (The idea was born out of this post: Four Healthy Mamas, Four Healthy Babies as well as the positive feedback I got from other bloggers in the comments, emails, and tweets that ensued.)

Because in rural Papua New Guinea… 1 in 7 women die in childbirth and that rate is simply unacceptable.

There are plenty of resources in the world to help these mothers and babies… they just need to be collected and redistributed.

So why not consider giving back from what you’ve received in order to help another mom deliver her own baby safely?


It’s so easy to make a difference. Here’s a few ways that you can get involved:

CRITICAL UPDATE AS OF MARCH 2014: If you are interested in assembling clean birth kits or getting involved another way, please check my Love A Mama Clean Birth Kit FAQ page where I will continue to post the latest relevant information.

You can also blog about this initiative and rally others to join in the cause and/or display the Bloggers for Birth Kits badge on your blog. 
The Mommyhood Memos Bloggers for Birth Kits

 

grab this code:

Please share this post with others. Tweet this post using the hashtag #B4BirthKits, link to this post on your facebook, or email this post to friends and family, church and social groups that you think might be interested in getting involved.

How to make a birth kit:

According to the Birthing Kit Foundation birth kits are very simple, containing six basic items:
  • 1 plastic sheet (approximately 1m x 1m or 1 yard x 1 yard) – for a clean birthing surface; to prevent mother and child from coming into contact with the floor or ground
  • 1 bar of soap – for clean hands; to prevent the birth attendant from transmitting germs to mother and baby; for cleaning the stump to prevent infection
  • 1 pair of plastic gloves – for clean hands; to prevent the birth attendant from transmitting germs to mother and baby
  • 1 sterile scalpel blade – for a clean cut of the umbilical cord
  • 3 cords/pieces of strong string (24cm or 10 inches long) – for clean ties for the umbilical cord (with an extra string included just-in-case); to prevent bleeding from the umbilical cord from mother and baby
  • 5 gauze squares – to wipe secretions from the baby’s eyes and mothers perineum

 

If you’d like to assemble one yourself, it’s simple. Just gather the above items, prepare a clean surface, wash your hands thoroughly, and assemble the items into a normal sized ziplock bag. The idea is that the kits are small enough to pack in large quantities (space is incredibly limited on our ship) and simple enough to not deter women who are accustomed to very little medical services and who often are illiterate.

Since I am not purchasing supplies in bulk, my kit cost me a total of $3.10 to make at home – still a very minimal price for the chance at life! The following is a demonstration of how to put a birthing kit together. (Listen to the story at the beginning, or fast-forward to the middle for step-by-step instructions for assembling a kit yourself.)


Dear friends, please let me know if you’d like to participate. Leave me a comment below (include any questions that you have) and make sure that I have your email address. Let’s get started immediately!

in support of moms everywhere,
Adriel x

 

Update May 10, 2011: In six days we’ve had 637 kits donated/sponsored, 37 blog posts, 200+ links on facebook (I lost track after that), and tons of tweets. Absolutely incredible. Well done ladies (and gentlemen)! You ARE making a difference by giving and by spreading the word. Thank you. Update from March 2014: We’ve exceeded 10,000 clean birth kits. WOW.


Note: Photos courtesy of YWAM Medical Ship’s I Want to Live campaign in Papua New Guinea.

57 Comments

  • Reply Cari 2 May 2011 at 2:59 pm

    God Bless! Done and done.

    http://snowdawegners.blogspot.com/2011/05/count-your-blessings.html

    Thanks for sharing this and letting us be a part of it:)

    Cari

  • Reply Anonymous 2 May 2011 at 3:16 pm

    This is great, thanks for bringing the awareness. How can I send you my email address? I'd like to post a link on my fb page and blog if you are okay with it! 🙂

  • Reply Pam 2 May 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I've shared on my blog, fb and twitter! Glad to help spread the word!

  • Reply Casey Martinez 2 May 2011 at 5:35 pm

    I too would love to pass this along on facebook by sharing a link to your blog if you don't mind? I def. plan on participating!

  • Reply Heather M 3 May 2011 at 2:05 am

    What a wonderful cause, I will do what I can to help! I just cant imagine what a wonderful organization!

  • Reply Adriel (The Mommyhood Memos) 3 May 2011 at 3:31 am

    anonymous, i don't know how to respond to you since you left no link or email. hoping you check back here!

    please leave your email here or email me at themommyhoodmemos{at}gmail{dot}com. thanks!!

  • Reply Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) 3 May 2011 at 4:42 am

    What a wonderful cause Adriel. Count me in to donate $. Let me know where I can send it.

  • Reply Lindsey 3 May 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Great cause. I'm headed over to the site to donate now. Add 5 kits to the count.

    Lindsey @ GrowingKidsMinistry.com

  • Reply flyrish 3 May 2011 at 3:27 pm

    This is an awesome cause. I would love to participate and donate. I will try to get a blog post up (linking back here) this week!

  • Reply Adriel (The Mommyhood Memos) 3 May 2011 at 5:12 pm

    very exciting ladies!! thank you! as of today there have been 8 other blog posts about this and 26 birth kits sponsored already. thanks for helping to get the ball rolling on this important issue!! x

  • Reply Mandy 3 May 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Such a great cause!!! Will be donating for sure! 🙂

  • Reply Gemma 3 May 2011 at 8:46 pm

    This totally stopped me in my tracks and caught my heart, a great cause.

    I have shared this on my blog, twitter and fb.

  • Reply Adriel (The Mommyhood Memos) 4 May 2011 at 3:12 am

    We're up to 60 birth kits in 2 days! Woohoo!!! Amazing.

  • Reply Cameron 5 May 2011 at 12:42 am

    Hey I shared this on my blog!! Hope it helps!!

    http://www.ingenuemom.com/2011/05/save-mom-this-mothers-day.html

  • Reply Ro Little 5 May 2011 at 2:50 am

    I know what I'm giving all the moms on my list now. Thank you for this beautiful idea and wonderful cause. I'm going to post this on my blog as well.
    Happy Mother's Day!
    Ro Little
    http://www.MommyMindSpa.com

  • Reply nicole aka gidget 5 May 2011 at 4:01 am

    This is so cool. I can't even remember how I ended up on your post (someone tweeted it) but I'm going to talk about the birth kits in a Mother's Day vlog on one of my blogs this friday (simpleorganic.net).
    Great idea!

  • Reply Laura 6 May 2011 at 2:30 am

    post this on the blog tonight! we'll be making a donation as well! gotta have as many safe babies and mamas as we can!! so glad you did this!

  • Reply Bill Hutchison 6 May 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I know that I probably don't really fit in with most of the readers of your blog, but I love the initiative and have blogged about it on 8 of my personal and ministry blogs. If you want the list of blogs I can send them through to you…

    Good work and I really hope that you can reach far above your goal of 300 birth kits. Heck, that's only $600!

  • Reply Angel 6 May 2011 at 9:44 pm

    I have shared this on my blog, twitter, facebook, and talked about it to pretty much anyone who would sit and listen to me! 😛 This is an amazing cause, you really are awe-inspiring! Thank you for sharing this!!! Have a wonderful weekend!!!

    Angel
    Chasing Serenity

  • Reply Becky 7 May 2011 at 4:18 am

    I shared on Facebook and put the badge on my blog! I will try to post about it this weekend…and share with others as well. This is an awesome program!

  • Reply mrsozzie 8 May 2011 at 5:54 am

    Hi Adriel – I love this idea – so simple yet so powerful. I've written about in in my weekly blog & have put a comment on Facebook. Keep up the fantastic work!

    Blog link: http://mrsozzie.wordpress.com/2011/05/08/the-power-of-the-little-things/

  • Reply Hippie Housewife 9 May 2011 at 12:18 am

    Done and shared. Thank you!

  • Reply TomatoJam 9 May 2011 at 4:12 am

    Hi. I want to be involved and send some made up kits but I want to check – are you collecting kits and money for them as an ongoing thing? Can we send you some kits in, say, a month or two, or only at this time close to mothers day for one trip over? Thanks.

  • Reply Adriel (The Mommyhood Memos) 9 May 2011 at 12:33 pm

    @TomatoJam – I'm not sure how to reach you since you don't have an email account connected to your profile. I checked to see if you had blogs and you had a few so it wasn't clear where you are active. ANYWAY, I posted on one and will post here as well in case you check back.

    Yes, this is ongoing. I wanted to do a big push for Mothers Day weekend since it was so appropriate, but we will need kits way beyond MD! Our ship is in PNG for most of this year and we send staff and volunteers back and forth every 2-3 weeks from our home base in Australia. Whenever we have kits available, they get sent up with staff just like the rest of our medical supplies.

    So yes, please do send us some kits whenever you are ready! We will make sure they are distributed to women who need them! Thank you so much for wanting to lend your heart and voice and resources to this important cause! And please let me know if you have any questions. I can be reached at themommyhoodmemos @ gmail. com

    Also, just curious… how did some of you ladies find me/this post? Amazing how the word can spread so fast…

  • Reply Adriel (The Mommyhood Memos) 9 May 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I'm having trouble getting into Blogger to edit my posts today for some (frustrating) reason. Just wanted to post an update:

    As of today (9th May):
    -35 blog posts promoting the cause.
    -Link shared on facebook over 200 times (I lost count after that!).
    -The post has been viewed well over 1000 times.
    -The video has been viewed 209 times.
    -And most importantly, 325 BIRTH KITS DONATED from six different nations!!!

    Thank you everyone for such an incredible response in just 5 short days! Lives will be changed because of you! xx

  • Reply Tahnie 10 May 2011 at 5:54 am

    I love that you are doing this! While I was afraid I wouldn't get to meet my daughter because of entirely different circumstances, these statistics are scary and we all need to ban together and make a change!

    xoxo.

  • Reply TwoMuths 11 May 2011 at 11:38 am

    Hi – just found out about this a few minutes ago! What a fantastic cause! God bless your efforts! (and, I'm praying for a safe & healthy pregnancy for you too!!)

    http://mjmuth.blogspot.com/2011/05/little-difference.html

  • Reply DREYA 20 May 2011 at 3:36 am

    I have just come back to the blogger world…LIFE WITH TWO LITTLE ONES UNDER 2.5 (Simply adventurous!)
    Going to start with the renovation of my site, but just had to let you know I absolutley LOVE this!! I am an Early Childhood Educator and have always had a dream to go and educate and help less fortunate children. Life has got a bit hectic with the joining of my two little ones, but I know I will be able to accomplish my dream ! Please tell me if there is any other type of help I can offer.
    a.bajec@yahoo.ca
    Will definetly post this everywhere possible and get the word out!!!!

    Dreya

  • Reply Rebecca Watson 25 May 2011 at 8:54 am

    i shared this for you today on facebook via the just cherish today fan page! 🙂

  • Reply bloggers combating maternal and infant mortality « The Mommyhood Memos 26 May 2011 at 3:13 pm

    […] together to rally behind the issue of maternal and infant mortality in developing nations through Bloggers for Birth Kits. Bloggers, and friends of bloggers, have donated 801 clean birth kits, written nearly 40 blog […]

  • Reply Bloggers for Birth Kits « a faithful leap 28 May 2011 at 5:11 am

    […] back from what you’ve received in order to help another mom deliver her own baby safely? My first Bloggers for Birth Kits post went up on May 5, 2011 where I pleaded for women to think about their own birth experiences in […]

  • Reply Emily 23 July 2011 at 2:59 am

    Adriel,
    As a NNICU nurse I am passionate about women’s health and babies. I have a dear friend in missions with YWAM and she has opened my eyes and heart to your ministry. I would like to get together with my community group and make birth kits to send to you. Please send me any other pertinent info. Is there any deadline? So looking forward to helping out a wonderful cause. I hope it’s not too late to share this on my blog and facebook. 🙂
    With love,
    Emily Miranda

  • Reply holy flippin moly. it sure was a wild ride. « The Mommyhood Memos 30 December 2011 at 1:21 pm

    […] May Bloggers for Birth Kits took the Memos by storm in honor of Mothers Day. In just a few short days we collected over 1200 […]

  • Reply Comfort 28 May 2012 at 12:06 am

    Awesome blog! Keep it up
    Comfort recently posted..Pre-Pregnancy Planning; a Positive Way to Reducing Pregnancy-Related Deaths in NigeriaMy Profile

  • Reply Wanda Sugershar 3 June 2012 at 7:10 am

    I’m glad to see there’s such a movement of bloggers caring for mothers in such situations. Let’s hope more will follow suit.

  • Reply Yolinda Masternus 5 June 2012 at 10:08 am

    I’m really happy for these bloggers who are really taking action for a good cause.
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  • Reply Rachel Norman 5 October 2012 at 11:46 am

    Is it still too late to do this? My pastor was raised in PNG as a missionary kid and he loves any missions project related to PNG. I’m currently working to plan something Christmastime related to do as an outreach. Are we still able to do this?

    (PS – it’s Rachel that’s an American married to an Australian living here with a kid also named Judah..) 🙂

  • Reply Lock Smith Chula Vista 11 July 2013 at 3:25 pm

    This is a great cause and I will be donating for sure.

  • Reply Sue Ann 18 September 2013 at 7:32 am

    I read an article about ‘birth kits’ and would like to get our women’s group involved in making them. The article listed the items to include in the kit and listed “a pictorial instruction sheet that illustrates the sequence of delivery events and proper hand-washing.” We would like to include such instruction sheets in the kits we assemble. How may we obtain these sheets? OR if you could send me a sample we will be glad to print as many as we will need.
    This is one of the most hopeful projects I’ve heard of in recent years. We are eager to share with mothers across the world. Thank you for letting us know how we can help.

    • Reply Adriel 19 September 2013 at 12:31 pm

      Hi there Sus Ann. Thanks for your willingness to get involved! We don’t include a pictorial illustration with ours because we don’t give them out unless we can also educate the women about how (and why) to safely and properly use them. Education is a huge part of our approach, so the kits are designed to support that, not the other way around. 🙂

      Thanks again! Oh, and if you do make and send some, please be sure to include your email address so I can let you know when they arrive! x
      Adriel recently posted..Stories to tell: Life and loss, joy and mourning in Papua New GuineaMy Profile

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  • Reply Richard Brown 24 November 2014 at 9:06 am

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