The project:Make Childbirth Safer in North India
Technologies used:JANMA Clean Birth Kit
Although the mortality rate in India has significantly decreased for the past five years, the most recent data from the World Bank shows that 38 out of 1,000 babies in India will not reach one year of age. A report by the United Nations Population Fund also revealed that Nigeria and India are estimated to account for over one-third of all maternal deaths worldwide in 2015, with an approximate 58,000 maternal deaths (19%) and 45,000 maternal deaths (15%). The World Health Organization says that these deaths could be prevented by providing assistance for mums-to-be during pregnancy and after childbirth, and access to health services. However, in rural areas of India, many expectant mothers cannot afford basic health care and give birth with little or no professional help and in poor facilities.
We worked with our local partner, Bodhi Health Education, to provide 1000 JANMA Clean Birth Kits to trained frontline health workers, commonly referred to as Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), in rural areas of North India.
The use of clean birth kits has also helped to mitigate the shortage of government-supplied birth kits. Although the Indian government has strongly encouraged, and in some cases legally required, mums-to-be to give birth at health facilities, the availability of delivery kits at government-approved facilities has often been unreliable. The lack of consistent birth kit availability has created the new challenge of manually sterilising the tools used in childbirth. The sterilisation process is time intensive and ultimately reduces the efficiency of health workers. The introduction of the JANMA Clean Birth Kits has completely eliminated this burden, as the JANMA kit contains all the necessary tools to allow for a sterile, safe, and efficient delivery.
Bodhi Health Education distributed the JANMA Clean Birth Kits through their training of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA). Upon receiving training regarding the proper usage of JANMA kits, the 210 ASHAs who received the kits subsequently brought them to primary health centres and/or community health centres in three districts: Faizabad, Sitapur, and Barelly. The participating ASHAs, besides introducing the use of the clean birth kits, were also promoting safe child delivery.
Faizabad represents a particularly good example of the success this program has enjoyed. Initially, our local partner requested the assistance of 50 health workers’ to aid the Chief Medical Officer in Faizabad in disseminating the JANMA Clean Birth Kits. However, interest among health workers was so high that 90 midwives joined the distribution program, 40 more than had been initially requested During the presentation on the challenges of safe delivery in rural areas, the attending health workers showed high levels of interest in our local partner’s program and presentation.
There were no reported challenges during the technology distribution. However, Bodhi Health Education has voiced interest in taking steps to ensure the sustainability of JANMA Clean Birth Kit distribution after the initial project is completed.