One of our recent customers was the Traffina Foundation. Like some other groups we so admire, this non-profit was entirely conceived of, developed and run by a female obstetrician from Nigeria. And the funds that finance the non-profit are largely raised from donations by Nigerians. Traffina has created an enhanced birth kit-- the kind we wish we could have waved a wand and created ourselves. The birth kit includes the usual clean razor, cord clamps and plastic sheet but also misoprostol (to prevent postpartum hemorrhage) and chlorhexidine (a new gel for better cord care). Through careful sourcing, research and production the team has already distributed over 6000 birth kits. Demand in Northern Nigeria is immense.
As it turns out this enhanced clean birth kit, coupled with the competence of the staff, is yielding impressive results for women in Northern Nigeria. At one Traffina-run clinic, the number of births per MONTH was a paltry three. Why? The women preferred to give birth at home and saw nothing that would draw them to the clinic. Once the enhanced birth kit was introduced, change did not come immediately. The pink bundle of goodies seemed too good to be true and it took some time before the staff could convince the community women that if they came to the clinic the contents of the kit would be theirs, for free.
As word spread, and the bundles of key medical supplies were provided just as promised, trust grew in the clinic. The most recent results were surprising-- now four women per DAY are delivering in the clinic. The Traffina teams had to check and recheck their results because they were so surprised by this rapid change in behavior. The kits are convincing the women to come to the clinic. According to the team, the pink bag itself is a big draw as the village women like to have a bag like this to hold their belongings. But beyond that, the word in the village is that at the clinic they are 'treated like a queen." This is as it should be! A woman bringing life into the world should absolutely be treated like royalty no matter what her circumstances.
In addition to the clean birth kits, the Traffina team reports that the midwife who works alone in one clinic is very pleased with the Maternova solar headlamp. She had been worried about managing births with a dirty kerosene lantern, but now feels more confident with clean solar light.
Maternova will be partnering with Traffina to spread the word about their enhanced birth kit and will take orders to accelerate the spread of this terrific kit. We will follow their work as they make birth safer for women in Kebbi and Sokoto states, one birth at a time.
Jean M. Bouquet, DO, is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Co-Director of the Urban Underserved Track at the Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is the founder of the Bouquet Speculum, an innovative and FDA-cleared medical device that helps to screen women for cervical cancer. Dr. Bouquet also started the Cure Cervical Cancer nonprofit. The following blog post was written by Dr. Bouquet about his journey to creating the Bouquet Speculum.
Dr. Daniel Kimani is a trained and licensed medical officer in Kenya, holding a Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery, and a post-graduate certificate on basic oncology training. Dr. Kimani is the founder of the Global Cancer Care and Research Institute, and is an expert in clinical colposcopy — a procedure to examine the cervix, vagina, and vulva.