In many countries, tetanus infection is the leading cause of neonatal deaths, those that occur in the first month of the newborn’s life. Traditional beliefs link this ailment to ‘bad spirits’; therefore, there is no connection made between unclean birth practices and infection.
In developing countries, most poor women deliver at home with a traditional birth attendant (TBA) as a pregnancy and childbirth care provider. TBAs provide the majority of primary maternity care in many developing countries, and most do not have formal training in health care provision. Home births usually use traditional practices, some of which dramatically increase the risk of infection including delivery on unclean surfaces, cutting the cord with unclean utensils or bamboo, and putting ash or cow dung on the cord.
One effort to combat these situations is the distribution of Birthing Kits and the training of TBAs in the principles of clean infant delivery that support the World Health Organization’s six principles of cleanliness (Clean hands, Clean perineum, nothing unClean introduced into the birthing process, Clean delivery surface, Clean cord-cutting instrument, Clean cord care (including cord ties and cutting surface).
Medxcel associates in Indianapolis donated the supplies, packed and donated 100 birthing kits to the TriMedx Foundation. These kits will be delivered to Kenya as a part of the Foundaiton’s medical ministry projects. The Village Clinic in Kager, Kenya is creating a program to education women and birthing attendants on the effects of unclean birthing environments and using the kits in the clinic and emergency births in village homes.
The birthing kit donation is designed to help support the primary focus of TriMedx Foundation’s mission – providing medical equipment repair services in the developing world. During the trip to Kager, volunteer biomedical technician Kirsten Hickman helped install newly acquired equipment for a lab, maternity and delivery rooms.