Mama Kits: Babies and Razor Blades

Community Health Promoters (CHPs) carry over 60 different health products in their bags (they’re like a walking Rite Aid!). One of the most popular items is a Mama Kit. 

What’s a Mama Kit?

(Are you ready for this???) If you want to deliver your baby in a health clinic, you need to bring your own supplies. Beds don’t have sheets, so the Mama Kits include plastic sheeting (one for you to lay on, the other for the baby). They also include three pairs of gloves for the doctor and/or nurses, a bar of soap and even a razor blade to cut your umbilical cord. 

Mama Kits include: two pieces of plastic sheeting, two pairs of surgical gloves, a roll of cotton, one pair of rubber gloves,  a sterilized razor blade and string, a small bar of soap (pink) and a health registration card for the baby.

Um... Why?

Uganda declared universal access to healthcare in 2001. Minor/Major issue - they don’t have enough funding to actually stock clinics properly. I’ve heard stories of doctors wearing a single pair of gloves for multiple deliveries. And even cutting-off the bottom of their used gloves to craft a makeshift rubber bands to tie babies umbilical cords. 

Rachel, Assistant Branch Manager in Masajja, gives a one minute explanation on the challenges of delivery in Uganda. (If helpful, click the "CC" to display subtitles).

The Facts:

It’s no wonder that Sub-Saharan Africa is the most dangerous place to give birth. Every day in Uganda, 16 women die in childbirth for reasons that are preventable - infections are one of the major contributing factors. The situation is so dire a Ugandan advocacy organization is currently suing the Ugandan Government, citing two horrific cases of mothers dying unnecessarily from lack of proper care (read about it here).

Thanks to the Ladies:

Thanks to Living Goods, they packaged their own Mama Kits. Female CHPs sell them to their neighbors at affordable prices. 

I asked Esther, a new mom, why she bought a Mama Kit to deliver her baby. She talked among her friends and then said bluntly, “Because it has all the things that we need. Everything you need.”

Esther with her new baby. Photo by Adam Kingman.

Esther with her new baby. Photo by Adam Kingman.

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Let's get more Mama Kits to these mamas!