Lilongwe, Malawi … Another day and another report of an expectant mother losing her life in a rural area. It happens all too often for several reasons. Some can’t be controlled, such as complications or ill health on the part of the mother, but others, especially those associated with getting to the hospital in time to deliver are controllable.  Too, having the items needed, like a clean razor blade, clean clothes, and a small blanket for the baby, and clean sanitary items for the mother increase her chances of survival, as well as that of her baby.

In Malawi unsafe conditions contribute to having up to 38.6 deaths for 1,000 live births. (Compared to 8 deaths per 1,000 in developed nations.) According to UNICEF Eighty percent of that number are due to prematurity, complications during birth, or infections such as pneumonia and sepsis. Doctors Without Bordersoffers a Safe Delivery Kit for “developing countries where even the most basic tools for safely delivering a baby can be difficult to source.”

The Malawi Project and Action for Progress have a major program to reach this objective in Malawi. It is the Baby Pack Program, and women all over the U.S. are busy making baby packs to help expectant mothers when they reach the time for their delivery. 

The value of these baby packs can be seen in the faces and voices of a large group of expectant mothers. Literally thousands of baby packs are being sent to Action for Progress for nationwide distribution. Pictured are expectant mothers at the Mitundu Community Hospital. Like most hospitals in Malawi there are far more patients than staff or resources. This facility delivers an average of 25 babies a day, or five hundred a month, yet they have only 6 beds designated for deliveries.

On the day Action for Progress came to help, the staff was able to give baby packs and travel bags to 165 women. The registered nurse, Raymond Kanthiti, addressed AfP and the audience of patients. “To some these tiny items may not seem so important, but in our rural areas women come to deliver without these most important and useful items,” he said as he tanked AfP for coming.

Groups across the U.S. are busy making baby packs, but more are needed. Information about this program, flyers to promote group participation, and the list of items needed are available by contacting:

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