PATH Supports World Health Day Focus on Safe Motherhood

World Health Day is April 7

Mar 25, 1998, 00:00 ET from PATH

    SEATTLE, March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Each day at least 1,600 women die during
 childbirth around the world, 90 percent of them in Asia and sub-Saharan
 Africa. It doesn't have to be that way.
     PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health), a Seattle
 nonprofit, has collaborated with the Save the Children Alliance of Nepal to
 develop an inexpensive, single-use delivery kit that saves lives during
 childbirth. World Health Day on April 7 will focus on safe motherhood, and the
 delivery kit has made a substantial contribution to the health of many women
 and children.
     The kits have become very popular; in the first year of production by
 Maternal and Child Health Limited (MCH Ltd.), a woman-owned company in
 Kathmandu, 120,000 kits were purchased by families in Nepal.  Recently, the
 United Nation Children's Fund has ordered 20,000 kits for distribution in
 Bhutan, and the kits are being sold at a retail outlet on a main street in
     During their research, the organizations found that Nepalese women
 typically give birth at home on an unclean surface, usually assisted by an
 untrained family member or traditional birth attendant. Usually these helpers
 use traditional but unclean tools, a practice that often leads to infection,
 and sometimes to death.
     The simple delivery kit contains supplies for a clean delivery including a
 new razor blade, a plastic sheet to cover the ground, three cord ties to tie
 off the umbilical cord, a small bar of soap, a clean surface for cutting the
 cord, and pictorial instructions on how to use the kit.
     During the development process the two organizations sought to create an
 affordable kit that local people would want to use. They also attempted to
 develop a sustainable project through providing technical assistance to local
 women to develop their own enterprise to produce and distribute the kit.
     The kit has been approved by the Nepali Ministry of Health and is being
 sold through small shops in village bazaars.
     PATH and the Alliance were supported in their work with funding from
 United States Agency for International Development, United Nations Children's
 Fund, and United Nations Population Fund.
     PATH is an international organization that is committed to improving the
 health of women and children, especially in developing nations. Since 1977,
 PATH has implemented more than 800 health and family planning projects in
 85 countries.
     Headquartered in Seattle, PATH is overseen by a board with members from
 around the world, and operates offices in Jakarta and Lombok, Bangkok, Hanoi,
 Manila, Nairobi, Kiev, and Washington, D.C.