As IFMSA MHASA (Maternal Health and Access to Safe Abortion) Program Coordinator, a common question I get asked is ideas for activities and campaigns. Hence, I’m sharing with you a popular and successful nationwide initiative by AMSA-Australia called “Birthing Kit Nights” whereby each university organises a night for medical students, allied health students and the general public to assemble essential kits that will be shipped to areas of need.
The materials in the kit are obtained from Birthing Kit Australia with the exception of soap which is sourced independently by each university. The night is fun, proactive and great for engaging the local public in discussion about maternal mortality and health in underserved communities.
Around the world, there over 300 000 women (mostly in developing countries) whom die annually from childbirth due to preventable complications and infections. Infections such as sepsis is one of the leading causes of newborn and maternal death. Hence, good hygiene is critical for drastically reducing the number of maternal deaths and quality of life for both mother and child. Hence, by providing these birthing kits, mothers are able to give birth at home or in their local community with limited medical support and have the resources available to reduce infection.
Another successful incentive to engage discussion and more participants is a Photo Competition held at some universities whereby the winners are announced at the Birthing Kit Night. Please see some examples of previous winners below. These photos are submitted by medical and allied health students with various categories for submission (medical, community, nature, Kodak moment etc.)
If you have any questions or would like to run a similar campaign, please email me at [email protected] and I’d be more than happy to assist.
Much global health love,
Helena Qian, Program Coordinator on Maternal Health and Access to Safe Abortion