By Charles Redding, MedShare CEO & President
Every day, approximately 830 women die in childbirth worldwide, and some 7,000 infants perish within the first month of their lives, with even more becoming gravely ill or suffering serious injury. Many of these deaths are the result of infections that could have been prevented with education and basic sterile medical supplies. But most women in the developing world give birth in their homes or in remote community clinics where such supplies are not readily available.
To help reduce infection and the rates of maternal and infant mortality, MedShare assembles and distributes Clean Birthing Kits, which contain these critical supplies, to medically underserved communities as part of its Maternal and Child Health Program. The kits are small, easy to carry, and include a plastic drape, sterile cord-cutting razor, sterile umbilical clamps, a receiving blanket, soap for hand washing, sterile gloves, mesh underwear, and newborn diapers. It also includes a pamphlet on safe birthing practices and danger signs to be aware of for mother and baby.
Recently MedShare partnered with Food for the Poor to distribute Clean Birthing Kits to Hospital Freres Camillians, located in Marin, Haiti, about 20 minutes west of Port-au-Prince.
Initially, Hospital Freres Camillians was a health center catering to patients with limited mobility and orphaned children. Over the years, it has transformed into a hospital serving everyone in the surrounding region.
The hospital’s mission is to offer quality care at little to no cost. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital treated over 30,000 patients annually at the facility. In spite of the many setbacks the hospital has endured, it has maintained a solid reputation for providing quality care to its patients.
The hospital recently received a much-needed maternity ward. Previously, many women had to travel to distant hospitals outside of their communities when they went into labor. The new maternity ward is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and reportedly, four or more babies are delivered there each day.
Head Nurse Ms. Matthieu said donations such as the Clean Birthing Kits, are a tremendous help to the new maternity ward.
“Most patients that are treated at this facility have little to no income, which makes it difficult for them to pay for care,” she said. “However, the patients receive the best care possible when they come to this facility. Receiving good quality birthing kits, such as the ones we received from MedShare, has enhanced the experience for the new moms to be.”
Thirty-year-old Amboise received one of the kits from MedShare. She was taken to Hospital Freres Camillians by her husband when her water broke at home. “I wanted to have a normal child birth, but God had other plans for me,” she said.
“Due to complications I had a C-section. The C-section went well and our baby was born healthy. All praise to God and the nurses who delivered our baby girl” Chrismene Jean.
“We were told about the donation of birthing kits received from MedShare and Food for the Poor. My husband and I are very excited to be new parents. I am really grateful to have been able to receive such good care here at the hospital. Thank you to everyone.”
MedShare continues to work with local ministries of health and medical missions to coordinate delivery of clean birthing kits to countries like Syria, Haiti, Tanzania, Nepal, Sierra Leone, and many others. They are distributed through midwives and community health workers who are also trained on how to use the supplies and on safe birthing practices in general.
Since 2014, MedShare has distributed over 59,000 birthing kits in 58 countries, providing mothers the opportunity for a safe birth and a healthy baby.
MedShare’s Maternal & Child Health Program provides many of the necessary medical supplies and equipment required for the early detection and treatment of some of the most preventable medical conditions leading to maternal and child deaths.
These efforts help our partners focus on caring for infants before, during and after childbirth, and also support midwives (and other rural caregivers) by providing them with the essential medical supplies for a safe childbirth.
Please join our efforts to help bring both Mom and Child home alive. For more information go to www.medshare.org.