Every hour 33 women die of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. An estimated 385,000 women die annually in childbirth, many from preventable infections.
In 2003, District 23 adopted the Zonta Birthing Kit project that was proposed by the Zonta Club of Adelaide Hills. This project involves clubs arranging birthing kit assembly days to put together simple clean birthing kits that are sent to help birthing assistants in developing countries.
The original kits cost $5 each and consist of a sheet of plastic, gauze, string, a blade, soap and gloves. Over one million birthing kits have been sent overseas so far. Earth kits are also available, where two of the components, the plastic bag and the plastic sheet, are treated with an organic compound that helps the plastic breakdown. These kits are $10 each.
The Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia) was formed to oversee this project. In 2020, The Foundation was renamed KIT (Know, Innovate, Transform) International. Birthing kits remain an integral part of Kit International, as does health, education and livelihoods. Find out more at at the KIT International website here.
This Birthing Kit project was recognised as the top Zonta International District Project at the Zonta International Convention held in Orlando in 2014. Districts 22 and 24 are also active in this project. As of mid 2020, 2.2 million women experienced a safer birth through access to clean birthing kits.