Up to 3.6 million lives could be saved every year if midwifery services were upgraded in 58 developing countries by 2015, according to a major new report released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in partnership with the University of Southampton and 28 other organisations worldwide.
Around 950,000 newborns per year die from infection, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Research conducted by PATH in Nepal and Tanzania suggests that many of these infections can be avoided when clean delivery kits are used.
The Cord Is Key
According to WHO, clean delivery and cord care mean observing principles of cleanliness throughout labor and delivery, and after birth until the separation of the cord stump. Clean cord care includes washing hands with clean water and soap before delivery, laying the newborn on a clean surface, washing hands again before tying and cutting the cord, cutting the cord with a clean instrument, and clean stump care.
Cord infections frequently result from a lack of hygienic cord-cutting practices or inadequate care of the cord stump. Unclean household items such as scissors, knives, sickles, stones, broken glass, or used razor blades often are used to cut the cord
a delivery kit should contain, at a minimum:
• a piece of soap for cleaning hands and perineum;
• a plastic sheet of about one square meter to provide a clean delivery surface;
• a clean razor blade for cutting the umbilical cord; and
• clean cord ties.