Birthing Kit Foundation Australia
In 2014, we were looking for a small impacting item that we could start promoting and ‘selling’ at our Fullife Pharmacy pay points to raise funds for impactful outcomes. During discussions with World Vision, we were introduced to the BKFA and their Safe Birthing Kits. The BKFA is an Adelaide based not-for-profit NGO dedicated to the elimination of preventable maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity.
We are honoured to be able to partner with Valerie Browning and the BKFA in this vital and life-saving project.
Birthing Kit Project
The $3.00 Safe Birthing Kits are a simple and effective tool for basic infection prevention and first-line childbirth care. The components are selected in line with global best practice and consist only of the essential items required to support mothers in high-risk and emergency settings. This simple six-piece kit, when used by a skilled birthing attendant, substantially reduces the deaths of women and babies in developing countries such as Ethiopia.
The birthing kit proves to be very popular with our customers and we regularly have those who donate multiple kits at the pay-point during their pharmacy visit. While we continue to promote birthing kits and birthing kit packing sessions in our pharmacies (a very popular community engagement event), we also support the work of the BKFA in Ethiopia by funding specific projects.
Over the past four years since we commenced our partnership with the BKFA, a partnership that continues to grow and strengthen, the Fullife Foundation with the assistance of Fullife Pharmacies and Pharmacy Alliance pharmacies, have provided over 54,000 Safe Birthing Kits to mothers at risk in Ethiopia, with some kits also going to mothers in Sudan, Somalia and Kenya through World Vision projects.
Birthing Kit Contents
Each kit contains 6 disposable components:
Soap to wash the birth attendant’s hands and the mother’s perineum
Plastic Sheet to prevent the mother and newborn coming into contact with the ground or an unhygienic surface
Gloves to cover the birth attendant’s hands and provide protection from infections such as HIV for carers and care recipients
Gauze to wipe clear the newborn baby’s eyes, and to clean the mother’s perineum prior to giving birth
Cord ties to cleanly tie the umbilical cord
Sterile blade to cut the umbilical cord and reduce risk of newborn tetanus and sepsis
The Dullasa Project is a partnership between the Fullife Foundation, BKFA and Valerie Browning, an amazing Australian nurse, who has called the Afar home for well over 40 years, and who has been working with the BKFA to improve birthing outcomes and maternal and child health services.
The Afar region of Ethiopia is the hottest inhabited place on earth, with Dullassa being one of the most remote areas in the Afar. It has one of the highest rates of maternal deaths in the world (estimated at 93%) due to both cultural reasons for assisted home births and inaccessibility.
As our focus is mainly on women’s and children’s health in Ethiopia, we have fully funded the first year in 2018 of the Dullassa Maternal Project (at a cost of $80,615) and have committed to funding the second year of $74,059, which includes all project management, monitoring and evaluation costs
This 3 year project aims to strengthen the rural health network, improve maternal and newborn survival and their ongoing health, and the reproductive health of girls and mothers through education (only 4% of Afar Dullasa women are literate), training and by equipping a large number of Traditional Birthing Attendants (TBAs) and Health Extension Workers, with a view to forming health teams, and creating a maternal health network that will achieve the stated goal.
Since 2014, Fullife Foundation and BKFA have engaged in a number of powerful initiatives which have delivered significant funds to BKFA in support of their important work in developing regions delivering birthing kits for women in low resource settings. Fullife Foundation fundraising initiatives, particularly those undertaken in store where customer participation has been significant have been energetic and powerful, with wonderful outcomes. BKFA is especially proud to partner with Fullife in the funding and delivery of a project in Ethiopia, which, currently in year two, seeks to strengthen the rural health network to improve reproductive, maternal and newborn health in the Dullassa District of the Afar region, Ethiopia. By funding this project, Fullife Foundation’s commitment to ‘improving the health of women and children in Ethiopia’ is realised.
Overall, thanks to the funding provided by Fullife Foundation, our implementing partner reports that this project is delivering community health teams with stronger capacity and collaboration, reduced harmful practices, an improvement of reproductive wellbeing of mothers and girls and increased maternal newborn health seeking behaviours.
Without the support of Fullife Foundation, the delivery of this project would not be possible. BKFA’s relationship with Fullife Foundation is meaningful, collaborative and robust and represents true partnership in every sense.