A Sanitary Kit for Traditional Midwives

University of Nairobi
Organization Location: 
Nairobi, Kenya

In rural Kenyan communities, freelance birth attendants are often called upon to attend to a "home delivery."  Basic issues like a general lack of sterility and hygiene instruments (clean water and a disinfected environment) greatly compromise infection control in such settings making home deliveries truly high-risk processes. Indeed, there have been increasing reports of poor handling of umbilical cord and subsequent infant infections due to use of poorly chosen instruments during delivery.

The goal of this project is to develop a novel set of portable low-cost sanitary technologies that will tackle sanitary challenges in a traditional midwife's ever-changing work environment. This "sanitary kit" will be composed of hydrogel-based disinfectants, light-sterilized clay cord cutters, and solar-sterilized cotton fabric napkins. Use of the kit by birth attendants is expected to achieve substantial impact on preventing maternal and fetal infections and as such will be promoted in rural communities as a new methodological approach to providing high-quality care at the time of birth.

Novelty of the individual sanitary technologies lies in the reformulation of primary natural products (bioactive plant/microbial extracts, clay powders, and cotton fibers) using cutting-edge concepts (synthetic hydrogel polymers, photo-sensitive nanoparticles, and photo-acid generators) to deliver a final product with enhanced efficiency, uptake, acceptability, and sustainable use in low-resource settings.

A clear set of milestones and identifiable deliverables (availability of hydrogel disinfectant, photo-sensitive fabrics and cord cutters for use; social perception and benefits technology) will be used to monitor progress, measure impact and evaluate outcomes.