The project:Make Childbirth Safer in Laos
Technologies used:JANMA Clean Birth Kit
In the isolated communities of Salavan Province, Laos, it is believed that contact with blood during childbirth brings bad luck, so women in these areas often give birth alone in the forest without assistance from their families or health professionals. This has resulted in high maternal and infant mortality in Laos.
A further 2000 JANMA Clean Birth Kits were distributed to nurses trained by our local partner in the field, CleanBirth.org. Nurses say that the clean birth kits help them to provide a sterile birthing environment, prevent infections and save the lives of both mothers and babies. Mothers also appreciate the kits especially the clean sheet supplied for use during labour.
The clean birth kits have not only assured sterile birth but have also helped the nurses preparing the birthing space for the next delivery. Local clinics in Laos have only one set of labour equipment and one ward, with two to five active nurses who travel to five different villages to provide medical services. One nurse usually manages the clinic alone. With the stock of JANMA Clean Birth Kits, standby nurses can prepare for the next birth quickly as they no longer have to sterilise the one set of labour equipment in the clinic before the next delivery.
Through collaboration with their local partner, the Association for Community Development, CleanBirth.org trained local nurses twice a year and supplied 2,000 clean birth kits to the trained nurses and local clinics in Salavan province and Sekong province, Laos.
Some mums-to-be opted for home delivery and used the kits they received from their local clinic, with the help of midwives, nurses, or family members. Some mums-to-be bring their kits along when they come to the hospital. Starting in March this year, CleanBirth.org also supplied clean birth kits to Lao Ngam Hospital, a local hospital in Salavan province, Laos.
Every month, CleanBirth.org receives pictures and data about kit use from their local partner. They also continuously seek feedback from the nurses to ensure that the kits suit the needs of the mothers.
There are limited birth kits available in the target area, and if they can be found, they are expensive. CleanBirth.org also learned that many nurses working at the public health services graduated in general nursing, not midwifery programs. These nurses need further training and support, as well as training on how to use the clean birth kits.