Provide Clean Birthing Kits for mothers
Clean Birthing Kits: six small items
Many women who live in poverty are forced to give birth in dirty places, without professional medical help. Sometimes well-meaning friends or relatives will cut the umbilical cord with an unclean object such as a piece of bamboo. Infection during delivery threatens the lives of both mothers and babies. Health services lack resources, and expectant mothers cannot afford to pay for the basic materials that are needed for safe child birth.
Six small items make a big difference: gauze, a scalpel blade, gloves, a plastic sheet, soap and a piece of cord. As part of a Clean Birthing Kit, these items become vital resources for health workers to ensure that childbirth is safer, infection rates are lower, and women have the essentials for a clean delivery.
According to the World Health Organisation, almost half of the world's population (3.2 billion people) are at risk of contracting malaria. This disease, which can be prevented and treated, can lead to serious complications or death. Pregnant women and children are among those who are most at risk. Each year about 438,000 people die from malaria, and more than two-thirds of those who die are children under five years old.
One simple way to prevent transmission of malaria is through the use of insecticide-treated bed nets. The nets protect people against bites from infected mosquitoes and remain effective for between three and five years.
Provide bed nets for a family
Isata, aged 12, sleeps soundly under a mosquito net, protected from life-threatening malaria.
World Vision's health programs make a difference for women and newborns in Rwanda. Left to right: Mothers breastfeed their children at a clinic; A mother feeds her child at a vaccination and growth monitoring clinic; Health worker Esperance educates mothers as a community volunteer (Photos: Ilana Rose/World Vision)
The first 1,000 days of life are crucial because a child has increased nutritional needs to support rapid growth and development and is more susceptible to infection. Inadequate nutrition during this period of life causes life-long, irreversible stunting of physical and mental growth. Almost half of all deaths (45 percent) among children under five are due to a lack of proper nutrition. One in six children are underweight.
Babies fare much better when their mothers know the basics of nutrition. They might not know that their first breast milk is rich in antibodies and nutrients for their newborns, and that exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months of life improves a child’s immune response. Through World Vision’s programs, unpaid Community Health Workers educate and support women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood.
Community Health Workers are heroes