A new report entitled Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report came out two weeks ago and is the first of its kind. It provides global and regional estimates of preterm birth and illustrates how preterm birth is becoming an increasingly dire problem around the world, with highest rates occurring in sub-saharan Africa and South Asia. According to the report, after pneumonia, preterm birth is now the second leading cause of death for children under five, globally. Even for babies who survive preterm birth, there is a high chance that they will be permanently disabled, which adds an extra burden on to already struggling families.
The report is very informative regarding the problem, but it also suggests a plan of action and looks towards solutions, hopefully which, as the report outlines, will reduce infant deaths caused by preterm birth by 50% by the year 2025.
The goals to realize a solution include:
- Preconception care package, including family planning (e.g. birth spacing and adolescent friendly services), education and nutrition especially for girls, and STI prevention
- Antenatal care packages for all women, including screening for and management of STIs and targeted care of women at increased risk of preterm birth
- Provide education to promote appropriate induction and cesarean
Care of the preterm baby:
- Essential and extra newborn care, especially feeding support
- Neonatal resuscitation
- Kangaroo Mother care
- Management of premature babies with complications, especially respiratory distress syndrome and infection
- Comprehensive neonatal intensive care, where capacity allows
It is wonderful to know that preterm birth is finally being acknowledged as a vitally important issue in need of address and action around the world, particularly in Africa. SAFE has already been working towards solutions of preterm birth, both immediate and longer term, particularly with regards to the antenatal care of preterm babies. As a result of the Light the Night solar panel project implementation, when emergency caesarean sections are required, many health centers around Uganda are now able to provide safer and more effective surgeries without fear of power loss. With this solar powered light, health workers can also provide better antenatal care to preterm infants and their mothers.
Furthermore, through educational sessions and community health fairs, SAFE empowers women’s and men’s groups to be more aware of important neonatal care issues such as good nutrition, sanitation, and immunizations.
SAFE’s motorcycle ambulance program also addresses the issue of surprise preterm labor and birth, by efficiently transporting pregnant mothers in labor to health centers, so that they may get the care, treatment, and maybe even surgery, they need.
Check out the full report by following this link:
We are so excited to share that Women Deliver featured “Light the Night”–our joint project with WE CARE Solar lighting up rural health centers and hospitals all over Uganda (including partnerships with AMREF Uganda and the White Ribbon Alliance Uganda)–on their Facebook Page and blog! SAFE is honored to be counted among the many other incredible solutions that Women Deliver features on a regular basis. Woohoo! Check it out here: http://www.womendeliver.org/updates/entry/celebrate-solutions-solar-energy-for-safer-births/
|WE CARE Solar Co-founders Laura Stachel, MD (Executive Director) and Hal Aronson
(Technology Director) with SAFE’s Jacquie and Richard Cutts (and their son, Jacob).
|Solar Suitcases at the MRI factory in California, being prepared for shipment!|
|Fully assembled Solar Suitcases, being shipped THIS WEEK!!!|
It is our great pleasure to share that Safe Mothers, Safe Babies has been co-awarded a large grant with parter WE CARE Solar from the Segal Family Foundation for Light the Night. This will provide funding for SAFE to install a total of 20 WE CARE Solar Suitcases in Ugandan health facilities, and allow us to do participatory, demand-generating outreach in the catchment areas of several of those institutions. So excited, and full of gratitude for great partners and supporters!
SAFE Founder, Jacquie Cutts, and husband/SAFE Technology Director, Richard Cutts, will be flying to Uganda in December to implement the project. Check back for updates soon!
Thanks to the generous support of a US-based alternative energy company, Humless, SAFE is initiating a quick capacity-building project to install innovative solar technology at six health centers within Bugweri Sub-County. Humless has agreed to provide their easy-to-use, lithium-based solar units (as opposed to lead-based), designed to last for many hours with one charge, to SAFE at cost and moreover to match donations dollar-for-dollar. Towards this endeavor, we are seeking to raise $3,000; we currently have raised $1,000. Your contribution to the SAFE’s Lighting Rural Uganda Project will be much appreciated! Please visit www.safemotherssafebabies.org for information on how to donate, or direct inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org!