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home Publications Blog Local Collaboration to Improve Women’s Health

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Local Collaboration to Improve Women’s Health

March 15, 2015

International Women’s Initiative (IWI) recently interviewed WFF Executive Director Maureen Powers for their Women with Initiative blog and we learned of their new Safe Birthing Program in Northern Uganda. WFF works in Soroti, Uganda, to prevent and treat the devastating childbirth injury obstetric fistula. We welcome IWI’s efforts to improve the safety of childbirth which can help prevent injuries like obstetric fistula.

Who is International Women’s Initiative?

Founded in 2012, the mission of International Women’s Initiative (IWI) is to raise awareness of the threats to the human rights of women and to promote and assist in the achievement of gender equality through collaboration with partnership organizations.

What is the Safe Birthing Program and its goals?

The Safe Birthing Program will promote and enhance the role of trained healthcare workers in safer pregnancy and childbirth through outreach activities within the communities and the distribution of Safe Birthing Kits. IWI will work with local health organizations, NGOs focused on family & maternal/reproductive health initiatives and local community agents.

IWI’s 18-month Safe Birthing Program partners with a local grassroots organization called Hope Development Initiative (HDI), to lead a community-based effort to improve the maternal health of women in the Amolatar District of Northern Uganda. HDI’s mission is to fight poverty and ill health among Ugandan communities affected by over 20 years of conflict and disruption of social and economic wellbeing.

Project goals include:

  • Improve maternal healthcare in the Amolatar District in Uganda at the community level by building the capacities of local health workers and “Community Change Agents”
  • Raise community awareness of the importance of prenatal healthcare and family planning
  • Increase women’s access to ante- and post-natal care, skilled local health workers and quality medical facilities
  • Supply healthcare centers and villages with Safe Birthing Kits
  • Promote healthy pregnancy and newborn care

What’s in a Safe Birthing Kit?

Contents of Safe Birthing Kits address the “7 Cleans” necessary for safer delivery of a newborn:

  1. plastic sheet — clean birth site
  2. gloves — clean hands
  3. sterile scalpel — clean cut
  4. cord — clean tie for maternal umbilical cord
  5. gauze — cleaning baby’s eyes
  6. cord +soap — clean baby’s umbilical cord
  7. gauze + soap — clean maternal perineum

How is the Program progressing?

  • IWI is at beginning of Phase 1
  • 6000 Safe Birthing Kits have been delivered to the Amolatar district in Northern Uganda for distribution through health centers for use by midwives.
  • With partner HDI, they are currently finalizing their tracking system prior to Kit distribution

We wish the International Women’s Initiative a successful program launch.