Well, this trip to Haiti is only six weeks away and today is the day to start gathering supplies. Approximately 1/2 of the $2000 that I estimate can be used for this first trip has been donated … so I step out in faith that the remaining money will be donated and I am starting to order the birth kit supplies. Imagine being at the birth of a baby and not having even the most basic supplies available. A clean place on which to birth? A way to tie and cut the umbilical cord? Gloves?!? We are talking basic basics here! What a privilege to be able to provide them to the midwives.
As stated in PATHs Basic Delivery Kit guide, a clean birth kit includes:
• Soap for clean hands
• Gloves so nothing is unclean introduced into the vagina;
• Chux or garbage bag for clean delivery surface;
• Razor for clean cord-cutting;
• Ties for clean cord care
Also included in PATHs list are “clean perineum” and “clean cutting surface for cord”.
The most recent studies also show that chlorhexedine used just once on the umbilical cord after cutting significantly reduces infection rates. Ultimately, I hope to figure out a way to include chlorhexedine in the birth kits.
Also, it would be good to include flashlights in the kits.
I will take as many clean birth kits as possible to distribute to women and midwives each time I get to travel into the developing world.
I spent much of this morning looking for the best price on razor blades. Amazed at how spendy those little things are (and hard to find!). I finally put in an order for 720 (one case) blades at a cost of ~$110. Train Midwives Save Lives’ first purchase! Thank you to those of you who have donated to make it possible!
I also ordered 24 solar powered LED flashlights and 12 crank LED headlamps. I’m really interested to see how durable these are. What a great tool to have as a midwife who is out at night in an unlit area. If the lights are of good quality, I will buy more. But, seeing as they are $2-$3 a piece, even wholesale, I did not want to spend a large chunk of donations on them before seeing them for myself and trying them in the field.
Also on the agenda for today is to purchase gloves for the kits. This expense will run $75 – $150.
My final quest for the day is to figure out the cord tie issue. I found some individual dental flosses that would be ideal because they will stay clean until use. Relatively speaking, they’re inexpensive, too. The problem? I can only find mint flavored! I’m waiting to hear back from the manufacturer as to whether or not there are any “plain” flosses made. Alternatively, cotton yarn or cord tape can be used.
Providing basic birth kits to those women who are helping with births makes a HUGE difference in the mortality rates of newborns. From the above article, “use of the birth kits was linked to a dramatic drop (48%) in neonatal mortality with a further drop (16%) in neonatal mortality with each additional clean delivery practice used.”