The Burdekin’s Zonta women will soon be assembling a thousand birthing kits that will help save the lives of mothers and babies in developing countries around the world.
The initiative, one of the International Zonta Club’s most recognised recurring projects, works with the Birthing Kit Foundation Australia to deliver the kits, which are designed to give women in poor communities around the world a chance at a healthy and safe birth.
Isabel Stubbs, the president of the Burdekin’s Zonta Club says that the sterile kits are crucial in preventing disease and illness for both the mother and her baby, who may not have access to a hospital or sterile conditions.
“Each birthing kit saves two lives, it saves the life of the mother and her child,” says Isabel.
“Zonta is an international group so we like to help out with international projects as well as local projects. This is one way that we can do that. This is a way we can save lives without physically going over there. It’s just a part of what Zonta does to empower women and girls,” she says.
The disposable kits have been designed in line with recommendations from the World Health Organisation to provide the basics for a clean, safe birth, reducing the risk of infection for both mother and carer.
On June 5th, members of the Zonta Club will be gathering at St Francis School to create a thousand kits, using the money raised at the Zonta Club’s International Women’s Day event and fundraiser in March.
Once the kits have been delivered to the chosen country, Isabel will receive more information about the kits whereabouts and how they’ve helped that particular community.
Past recipients of the Birthing Kit Foundation’s birthing kits include Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Papua New Guinea, India and Nepal.
At just five dollars per kit to produce, the six items inside can be life-changing for each woman and her baby, with kits delivered to rural communities in developing countries.
The kits contain a plastic sheet to prevent contact between the mother and the ground or unhygienic surface, soap to wash the birth attendants hands and the mother before the birth and gloves to protect the attendant’s hands from illnesses such as HIV.
The kit also contains gauze to wipe the babies eyes after it’s born and separate gauze used to clean the mother prior to birth. Cord ties cleanly tie the umbilical cord while a sterile blade reduces the risk of newborn tetanus and sepsis.
“Everybody that does come says it’s an enjoyable day. It’s a community activity and people are able to help others in foreign countries,” says Isabel.
“We weren’t able to do it last year because of COVID so there is an increased need.
“We do need that community support. We have grandmothers and their daughters coming, school children are also welcome. We do make it fun,” she says.