The 1,000th Birthing Kit Assembly Day takes place in Perth this weekend, when a group of mothers get together to help mothers in Uganda give birth safely.
The raw materials for the kits are provided through the Adelaide-based Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia) and sponsored by a cash donation from the United Nations Spouses Association in Bonn, Germany.
Spearheading the 1,000th session will be Christine Waddell, a physiotherapist who works in women’s health at Perth’s King Edward Memorial Hospital.
“Before I had children I did a Masters of International Health, which stimulated my interest in third world health and women’s health,” Ms Waddell says.
“I then had three babies in four years before discovering the Birthing Kit Foundation. Assembly Days give me and the other mothers an opportunity to be thankful for a safe and clean birth, which we so often take for granted in Australia.
“We are all absolutely thrilled to be attending the 1,000th Assembly Day, an amazing milestone. It certainly raised eyebrows at the checkout when I pushed through the birthday candles – a one and three zeroes!”
Ms Waddell’s first group put together 200 kits three years ago. The 1,000th Assembly Day plans to produce 400 kits with the help of mums from the Kapinara Primary School, City Beach.
The kits hold all the essentials needed to provide a clean birthing environment – a sheet of plastic, soap, gloves, scalpel blade, cords and gauze in a small press seal bag.
“We cut up soap, assemble the kits, and pack them in boxes for pickup,” Ms Waddell said. “It’s a highly streamlined process, so simple yet it can save a woman and her baby’s life.”
Fiona Smith, Executive Director of the BKFA, said the kits were a demonstration of women helping other women on the other side of the world.
“We will be sending the kits to our partner Think Humanity, in Uganda, for distribution to women who live in remote rural areas and in refugee camps,” Ms Smith said.
About the Birthing Kit Project
The Adelaide-developed Birthing Kit Project, which saves the lives of thousands of babies and mothers all over the world, won the inaugural Zonta International District Service Award in 2014.
The Birthing Kits are used in rural areas of developing nations where women cannot hope to attend a clinic to give birth under medically hygienic conditions.
More than 1.25 million kits made in Australia have been delivered since the project began in the Adelaide Hills in 1999, when a group of local women made 100 kits to send to Papua New Guinea.
Since then the kits have been sent to over 30 developing countries where, typically, they are distributed to traditional birthing attendants.