What’s Next for Clean Birth Kits? A Call for Impact Data and Discussion

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By: Colleen Lyon, Vice President of Public Relations and Communication, ayzh

Women with clean birth kit

Clean birth practices are necessary to reduce maternal mortality. Each year, around 1 million newborns and mothers die from childbirth-related infections, and this burden is highest in low-resource settings. Clean birth kits (CBKs) provide simple tools needed for a hygienic birth, but more research is needed on how these kits are used and what effect they have on women and providers.

Five years have passed since the Clean Birth Kit Working Group published the first policy brief, Clean Birth Kits – Potential to Deliver? This was right around the time when ayzh, a small social enterprise based in Chennai, India, started selling its JANMA Clean Birth Kit for use in health facility settings. At the time, there was debate surrounding the impact and public health value of CBKs, as well as the viability of a for-profit, commercial model in a traditionally philanthropic space.  In response to this debate, ayzh set out to prove that given the chance, individuals in low-resource settings would purchase affordable products, if they were perceived to have value.

What did we learn? There is still a market and demand from health institutions for clean birth kits, proven by our ability to sell more than 250,000 kits to more than 300 health institutions in India, Haiti, Honduras, Laos, Burma, Afghanistan, and several countries in Africa. We are working with the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke on a cost-consequence analysis of how our kits impact facilities and families. We are also exploring partnerships to measure impact on maternal health.

I am honored to say that the Maternal Health Task Force was one of our early supporters, providing us with access to many peers and experts that validated the need for social enterprises like ayzh to make the right product available at the right place, time, and price, and to do it in sustainable way.

But, what is the impact? This is the critical question we must answer.  Today, as ayzh transitions to scale, I return to this community of experts to leverage your collective wisdom and create an open repository of impact data and opportunity around clean birth kits.  Studies indicate that the use of CBKs can promote clean delivery practices and reduce rates of neonatal mortality. We hope to supplement this research with the knowledge, experience and opinion of global health experts, including your interpretation of existing evidence.

Please take our survey to answer one or all of the following questions:

  1. How do you see clean birth kits making an impact?
  2. Can you share examples of papers and publications that support your views?
  3. Is there a particular research effort around clean birth kits you’d like to suggest?

If you’d rather schedule a call to discuss your expertise and feedback on clean birth kits, please email colleen@ayzh.com.

Photo credit: Society of Community Health Nurses India