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Safer Birthing and Infant Care

Safer Birthing and Infant Care




A safe start to life. This gift contributes to projects that help support women throughout pregnancy and childbirth, and ensure their babies get a safer start to life. This may include training local birth attendants, providing birthing kits and support for other maternal and child health services.

How your gift helps

This little baby looks strong and healthy, but not all babies in the area of Laos where he was born get off to such a good start in life. Here in rural southern Laos where TEAR's partner World Concern (Laos) is working, many mothers give birth in the field or home, on their own or with help from unskilled family members, such as their mothers or husbands. Most often, they don't have the basic knowledge that can help them deliver their babies in a safe and hygienic environment. These situations often end with injury or illness to the mother and infant, and sometimes in untimely death.

World Concern is working with a number of communities to train traditional birth attendants (TBAs) who help look after pregnant women in their antenatal period, assist safe delivery of their babies, and then follow them up in the breastfeeding period. TBAs also help educate others in their community about safe pregnancy and birth. Simple strategies like ensuring a clean birth space or thorough washing of both mother and attendant before and after giving birth, can reduce the risk of infection for mother and baby.

As part of the project, TBAs are each given a birthing kit with useful items for delivery, including a clean razor blade to cut the umbilical cord, and soap for washing. TBAs, who usually work in pairs, are usually called in early labour, and then stay in or around the family home until the birth, so that they may detect signs or symptoms that indicate the need to refer mothers to the heath clinic or hospital for skilled birth care.

Mai is an 18-year-old semi-literate Triang woman, living remotely in the mountains. Mai was four months pregnant with her first baby and working with her husband in the field when she developed severe and acute abdominal pains.

Mai had only recently completed her preliminary training as a Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA), as part of the community's development project, so she not only realised that something was very wrong, but also that her more experienced fellow TBAs would know what to do. They examined her, realised that both her pregnancy and her life were at risk, and referred her to the Sub-District Health Centre. Before the training of TBAs, this would not have happened, and it was not uncommon back then for women to die in late pregnancy or labour.

As there was no midwife at the health centre, a group of men from the community carried Mai on a makeshift stretcher another 24km through the mountain forests to the nearest road to meet a project vehicle carrying a doctor and midwife, who accompanied Mai to the provincial hospital. There she stayed for a week to receive treatment and to rest, and there her husband was also counselled about the importance of ensuring Mai had a nutritious diet and that she should only do light work in the field while pregnant. Mai returned home, her pregnancy subsequently progressed well and she gave birth to a healthy baby five months later.

Your gift of safer birthing and infant care is contributing to projects like this one and making a difference in the lives of those facing poverty and marginalisation.

About our partner

World Concern (Laos) is a Christian development organisation that works with people facing extreme poverty to provide hope and opportunity. Its projects in Laos mostly focus on some of the country's poorest and most isolated ethnic minority communities, where skilled health care is either non-existent or extremely challenging to reach.


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