Maternova obstetric kits are the graduation gift for newly minted graduates trained by Midwives for Haiti. Nadene Brunk, director of Midwives for Haiti reports that the newly trained skilled birth attendants are particularly excited about the colour scale anemia detection kit--allowing them a ready way to determine that a woman is anemic. In addition, the solar powered headlamps and rotary mobile phone chargers are so appreciated by the midwives because they not only provide light and power for clinical care but because they help protect the midwives themselves. As midwives work in remote rural areas or in refugee camps, having a link to safety via mobile phone, and having a light offers physical safety. This aspect of protecting health workers is one that tends to be overlooked-- inclusion of a mobile phone charger to ensure that help is a call away-- and a solar headlamp to light the path-- are key elements for protecting precious resources-- the midwives themselves.
The photo depicts a woman with a newborn. The trained midwife is using the WHO Colour Scale to determine if the new mother is anemic. This simple colorimetric device comes with a colour scale and test strips. A drop of blood is taken, placed on the strip and then the strip is compared to the colours on a graded scale. Also included in our obstetric kit are reminder cards on the ACTIVE MANAGEMENT OF THE THIRD STAGE OF LABOR, the core internationally agreed upon protocol for preventing postpartum hemorrhage. In addition, we include one plastic underbuttocks drape with a calibrated measuring funnel to assess blood loss. Why is this important? Studies show that visual estimation of blood loss consistently underestimates-- a calibrated funnel allows more accurate measurement of blood loss. The plastic draped can be bleached and re-used.
The Maternova effort to put together 'next generation birth kits' is in repsonse to the fact that the leading cause of death in childbirth is postpartum hemorrhage. Clean birth kits are very important for preventing sepsis (or infection) in mother and baby-- but they do NOT prevent postpartum hemorrhage.
photo by Cynthia Siegel of Midwives for Haiti