Babies are born in Uganda regardless of clean water, sterile equipment or enough birth supplies to guarantee a clean, safe and protected birth for mom, baby and midwife!
Although there are many opportunities to share stories & educate, often times the midwives and traditional birth attendants are left doing the best they can with what they have. Many times that involves using the same pair of gloves for each birthing woman who comes through, or not changing the plastic garbage bag that covers the bed from one woman to the next. Is it a case of not understanding the dangers of HIV transmission? Rarely. The midwives and traditional birth attendants we work with are intelligent, experienced and highly dedicated women who serve the women in their communities to the best of their abilities. We certainly do focus on education and improving skills, but we’ve also made a commitment to increase access to the birth supplies that improve birth outcomes, create a safe and sterile environment, prevent infection and lower maternal and infant death rates.
The Shanti Uganda Birth Kits include everything from sterile gloves, to a waterproof sheet. They were designed and packaged by Nikiah Seeds of Mama Goddess Birth Shop here in Vancouver and can be purchased on our website at wholesale cost. We’ve had numerous meetings with the midwives in Uganda who then use these kits and are continuously adapting what goes into them. Donors in North America purchase the kits for $15, which are then brought to Uganda by our volunteers.
The issue of sustainable menstrual products is one that is talked about all over the world. Many girls and women in Uganda either stop with their daily routine while they are menstruating (many girls don’t go to school during this time!), or use rags that do not stay in place and are not properly washed. Access to clean menstrual products could not be more important than after a woman has given birth – in an attempt to prevent infection and offer the birthing mama something she can take home with her to use again and again, each birth kit includes a reusable menstrual pad made especially for the heavier blood loss women experience after birth.
(Some of the midwives in Uganda with the pads before adding them into the birth kits)
We get these pads from the lovely ladies at Lunapads, a Vancouver based, women-owned business. Recently, the Lunapads women threw a special fundraising tea party with guest of honour Peggy O’Mara, Editor of Mothering Magazine. Women from all over Vancouver attended, were inspired by her words, and were invited to purchase a pad for a woman a world away. Each woman left with a bracelet made by the women in Uganda and this week we picked up the 18 donated pads to be added to our birth kits and brought to Uganda. We’re thrilled to have the support of the Lunapads gals and so are the midwives and birthing mamas in Uganda!
(Suzanne-Lunapads, Peggy-Mothering Magazine Editor, Madeline-Lunapads and Nikiah-Mama Goddess Birth Shop)
(The women gather during the Lunapads Fundraising Tea Party in Vancouver)