Bringing a new life into the world should universally be an occasion for joy, but for women and children in the poorest parts of the world it carries a great danger. Every day, 800 women die from pregnancy related causes1, 99% of them in the developing world, which crystallizes one glaring fact – whether a mother survives pregnancy and childbirth is almost entirely a matter of economics and geography. If she was born in Pakistan, she would be 56 times more likely to lose her life from maternal causes than if she were born in France2. A woman from Kenya would be 95 times more likely to die than a woman in Canada due to a pregnancy. Both of us Baby Hero founders had complications in the births of our children requiring medical intervention, and we are acutely aware that but for a roll of the dice that led us to a comfortable existence in an industrialized nation, we might not have fared so well. This is true of our treasured children as well. 98% of the 3 million worldwide infant deaths occur in developing countries. 1 million of those babies die on their first day of life, 80% of them in just 2 regions of the world: Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.3
The one bright light amongst these devastating statistics is that most maternal and infant deaths are entirely preventable through low-cost, simple interventions. In fact, 2 million newborn lives could be saved a year by applying these inexpensive solutions universally, a heartening prospect.
With this goal in mind, Baby Hero has partnered with Grand Challenges Canada winner, Dr. Shaun Morris, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.
Dr. Morris has pioneered an easy to distribute and use Neonatal Survival Kit for rural areas with little access to medical care, aiming to reduce maternal and infant mortality in the regions it is used by 30-40%. The Kit will initially be distributed in Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab, Pakistan. With an infant mortality rate between 5%-10% and one of the highest maternal mortality rates in South Asia, this part of the world is one of the most dangerous in which to be born or to give birth.
For more about The Neonatal Survival Kit click here.