IMAGE: Dr Kyu Kyu Than (left) helps Birthing Kit Foundation Australia volunteers prepare the Mothers' Day birthing kits
Burnet Institute Maternal and Child Health specialist Dr Kyu Kyu Than enjoyed a Mother’s Day with a difference this year, helping to prepare a consignment of 400 birthing kits bound for India and Vietnam.
Dr Than was invited to join 60 volunteers from Birthing Kit Foundation Australia (BKFA) to pack the kits comprising a plastic sheet, soap, gloves, a sterile scalpel, pieces of cord, and gauze squares, and to explain from her work in Myanmar why the kits are so useful.
“I told them about the World Health Organization’s ‘Four Cleans’,” Dr Than said.
“The plastic sheet is for a clean surface; the soap is for clean hands; the blade is for a clean cut of the umbilicus and the string is for a clean tying of the umbilical cord.
“All the things in the kit are designed to prevent umbilical infection and maternal infections during birth.”
Dr Than related her experience working with an emergency medical relief team in Myanmar in the wake of the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis in 2008.
IMAGE: Dr Kyu Kyu addresses the Mother’s Day Workshop
“While we were preparing our equipment, I made sure we included some clean delivery kits because I was sure they would be needed, and while we were there, a woman was in delivery, and we were able to safely deliver her baby,” she said.
“We discovered later that this woman had lost her land, lost her crops, she lost her husband and her three children aged 10, eight and four, and all her hopes for the future rested with her newborn baby.
“With the clean delivery kit, we could make a safe delivery for her in that instance.”
Dr Kyu Kyu said she was pleased for the invitation from BKFA and for the opportunity to provide some context around a valuable and worthwhile service.
“These kits can be made in Australia for less than 15 cents to $5 depending what’s in them, it’s very cheap,” Dr Than said.
“I told them it’s Mother’s Day and we are giving up two hours of our time devoted to making clean delivery kits, but think that we could be saving more than 400 mothers in the developing world.
“It was a really good Mother’s Day activity, I enjoyed it!”
Find out more about Burnet’s research to improve Maternal and Child Health.