PATH Supports World Health Day Focus on Safe Motherhood
World Health Day is April 7
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 Kathmandu. 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.
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