Zonta Club assembles birthing, newborn kits

Janet Bender and Joan Mettey labeling bags

Janet Bender and Joan Mettey labeling bags

The Zonta Club of Cincinnati recently gathered with community partners Matthew 25 Ministries and Kohl’s Cares to assemble 500 birthing and 180 newborn kits.

Fifteen boxes of kits were delivered to Matthew 25 Ministries for distribution in Haiti.

Birthing Kit committee chairs Jane Wiehe and Dawn Trammell led the effort, with assistance from Zonta’s Withrow High School University Z Club.

Each kit contains six items to help a woman in a developing country give birth and reduce the rate of infection. The items include plastic sheeting to provide a clean surface for delivery; soap;  disposable gloves; clean single-edge razor blades to cut the umbilical cord; three 12-inch pieces of string to tie the cord; and two packages of sterile gauze pads.

After assembly, the kits are shipped to clinics in developing nations to help women who don’t have access to medical facilities.

Last year, the club decided to include newborn kits as well. Mothers in developing countries often have very little for their newborns. Each kit consists of a receiving blanket, two cloth diapers and safety pins. A receiving blanket could mean the baby now has a bed. Cloth diapers can be washed and reused.

Why birthing kits? In 2013, the United Nations estimated that more than 289,000 women die annually in childbirth, and approximately 2.8 million newborn deaths occur. For every woman who dies in childbirth, another 30 incur injuries and infections. Providing clean birthing conditions can make a big difference.

Matthew 25 Ministries does not charge for delivery since the kits go with their next shipment to Haiti.

Donations can be made through the Zonta Club of Cincinnati website (www.zonta-cinti.org). There are several Donate buttons on the website – or send checks payable to The Zonta Service Fund of Cincinnati, Inc., P.O. Box 428546, Cincinnati, OH 45242.

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