“It’s not often you can go home from school knowing you have saved lives.”

This obvious, but clearly profound truth was stated by teacher, Sue Pickles, as students from the Cert III Allied Health class wrapped up their session learning about, and preparing, birthing kits to be sent to countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and parts of the Middle East.

This hands-on class allowed students to combine their interest in midwifery with practicing infection control techniques.

Zonta, an organisation especially focussed on the wellbeing of women and children, developed the kits that, despite their simplicity, have had a significant impact on the death/infection rate for women in countries where health care is compromised by war or poverty. So far 1.5 million kits have been distributed.

“These kits give women in countries where health care is poor the chance to have a safer birth with less chance of infection for both mother and baby,” student Maddy Betts said. “I’m really happy to help out in this way.”

In a report from Afghanistan on the impact of using 2350 kits, Dr Taj reported that only one woman had died and no babies had died. Statistically it would be expected that between 44 and 118 women would die (depending on region) and over 100 babies would die. This shows the true impact of simple clean birthing kits and a health program. (https://www.bkfa.org.au/faq/)

So, hands carefully washed, and guided by Zonta representatives, Anne Horrocks and Kathy Wilton, the simple but essential contents—A plastic sheet, soap, two gloves, sterile scalpel blade, three pieces of cord and five gauze squares—were carefully folded and placed in sealed packets by students.

The class also considered the many benefits of volunteering. Research continues to show that doing something for someone else, without payment, creates significant positive physiological and psychological changes in the body—as well as building self-esteem, communication skills and deepening social networks.

Zonta is running another Birthing Kit Assembly Day on Saturday 19 August in the BSSC Language Centre from 9.30 – 3 pm. Morning tea and lunch provided.