CHARLOTTESVILLE — Every minute in the world 380 women become pregnant, 110 women experience a pregnancy-related complication and one woman dies from a pregnancy-related cause. In the developing world, the leading cause of death for girls ages 15-19 is pregnancy. For every woman who dies in childbirth, other women incur injuries and infections–many of which are disabling and lifelong.
These are sobering facts and when the members of Broadus Memorial Baptist Church in Charlottesville became aware of a mission project to help prevent the suffering of women in impoverished countries, they were ready to get involved.
Members learned of Birthing Hope, a project of Covenant Community Church in Elba, Ala., through a newsletter received from Global Women, a nondenominational group designed to provide opportunities for women to minister with and to women. The two groups were combining efforts with the goal of supplying 650 birthing kits each month to mothers in the poorest countries.
Birthing kits consist of items which can be purchased over the counter at most drug stores. These are packed in zip-lock bags and shipped to villages where maternal health partnerships have been established. Each kit will help a trained birthing attendant with supplies for 10 deliveries.
Previously the church prepared kits which were sent to Zimbabwe. Last month kits were assembled to be shipped to Haiti where Birthing Hope has a partnership with 65 skilled birthing attendants. In Haiti the maternal death rate is 523 women to 100,000 births.
It was a church-wide mission project and members were anxious to be involved. Sunday school classes and individuals purchased the items for the kits. Cotton balls, gauze squares, rolls of medical tape, Ivory Soap and rubber gloves were a few of the items needed.
Members formed an assembly line on Wednesday, May 6, as kits were packed and prepared for shipment to Covenant Community Church. Last March the Alabama church delivered 201 birthing kits to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to be flown to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Over 2,000 expectant mothers would have access to the basic necessities for a healthy birth due to the enthusiastic efforts of participating churches. Another shipment is expected soon and the kits prepared by the members of Broadus Memorial will be on that plane, having the potential to make a difference in the health of women.
For additional information on Birthing Hope, check their website at www.birthinghope.wordpress.com.