Where we work
All of this work and support would be for nothing if we didn’t have our network of partner organisations distributing the birthing kits to where they are needed. They face a range of difficulties undertaking this work including transport issues, sufficient funding to keep their organisations operating and dealing with unrest and violence, at times being forced to flee the region.
Despite these challenges and the subsequent turnover of partner organisations, over 98 percent of the birthing kits reach their intended destination. We are currently working with over 40 partner organisations in 20 countries.
Over the past 12 months we partnered with six new organisations to distribute kits and supported two partner organisations to start delivering training to Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) to enhance their kit distribution.
Details of our field partners can be found below.
Surveys conducted by UNICEF in four parts of Afghanistan have found that Afghan women suffer from one of the highest levels of maternal mortality in the world, with almost half of all deaths among women aged 15 to 49 coming as a result of pregnancy and childbirth.
With a one in 49 lifetime risk of maternal death and a ranking of 152 (out of 178) countries listed in the "State of the World's Mothers Report" published by Save the Children, there is an obvious need for birthing kits.
Today a woman in Burundi has a 1 in 22 chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth over her lifetime. This make Burundi the country with the 6th highest Maternal Mortality Ratio in the world.
Therefore improving maternal health is one of the most pressing challenges faces the country today.
Few women in Burundi have access to the services and environment needed for a healthy and safe entry into motherhood.
Traditional Birth Attendants are popular in Cambodia, especially among the poor, as their service is cheap and locally available. In fact, at present Traditional Birth Attendants deliver the majority of Cambodia's babies. Most are older women who learned their trade from a relative or another TBA. However, some taught themselves and others learned their profession under the Pol Pot regime.
With a one in 180 risk of maternal death and a ranking of 132 out of 178 countries in the Mother's Ranking Index, published by Save the Children, BKFA's birthing kits are much needed.
BKFA has just commenced working in Cameroon. Cameroon has a 1 in 31 lifetime risk of maternal mortality and is ranked 142 out of the 178 countries listed in the "2014 Mothers Index Rankings" published by Save the Children.
Inadequate funding, unskilled birth assistance and poorly facilitated health centers across Cameroon are the reasons why so many young mothers in the country face the risk of death during pregnancy and childbirth
Cameroon has an inadequate number of health centers in rural areas resulting in many pregnant women needing to walk long distances before getting to the nearest health center. As a result, it is quite a common that babies are born on the side of the road.
There is an urgent need to provide safe births in Cameroon and BKFA is pleased to have a reliable partner on the ground there.
The DRC is one of the most dangerous countries in which to conceive. Over her lifetime, a Congolese woman faces a one in 24 chance of dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth. The country is one of six that account for half of all deaths from maternal causes globally. In its annual "State of the World's Mothers" report, by Save the Children, DRC was listed as one of the 10 worst places in the world to be a mother. Eight of the countries are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Some progress is being made, but the decrease in maternal deaths is only about 1.7 percent a year in Congo, compared to an annual 5.5 percent mortality reduction needed to meet United Nations goals for the country by 2015. The death rate is highest in the mineral-rich eastern part of the country, where conflict has flared again this month and rape is a common weapon of competing militias
BKFA has targeted DR Congo as a country of high priority for our support.
Ethiopia is a country of 80 million people in Sub Saharan Africa where 2.75 million women become pregnant every year and 93% deliver in the home. The issue of unhygienic births is of particular concern in remote areas where there are high rates of poverty. The local customs that involve women choosing to give birth at home, together with the mountainous terrains, lack of roads and inaccessibility of health services in these areas, particularly where there are nomadic lifestyles, provided the impetus for the provision of clean birth kits.
Ghana currently ranks 150 out of 178 countries listed in the 2014 Mothers Index Ranking (as published by Save the Children). The lifetime risk of maternal death is 1:68.
While Ghana has made significant improvements in reducing the number of women who die from pregnancy-related complications, many women still needlessly die each year from these preventable problems.
In just one year, approximately 2,700 women in Ghana died from pregnancy-related complications, and most of these deaths occurred in the period from late pregnancy through 48 hours after delivery. And the rural-urban differences in Ghana are stark: Only 43 percent of rural women had skilled attendants at their birth, while 84 percent of births to urban women were attended by skilled health personnel.
India has a maternal mortality rate of 230:100,000 live births. 117,000 women die annually from childbirth related causes. The highest number of any country.
With basic maternity care, many lives in India would be saved. According to a 2010 study by the Harvard School of Public Health, 150,000 deaths could be prevented by 2015 if Indian women had access to better family planning and health care during their pregnancies and deliveries. However, that medical help has yet to arrive. A new report by Save the Children suggests that, despite India’s booming economy, the country is still one of the most high-risk places in the world to give birth. It ranked India as the fourth worst country among 80 less developed nations in its survey, with nearly half of all births taking place without a trained health professional.
BKFA has had great success with excellent partners in India, with the delivery of fabulous training programs.
Limited health facilities force Kenyan mothers to give birth at home with unqualified midwives.
Home deliveries often turn tragic with either the mother or the child dying. Such deaths are dealing a blow to maternal health initiatives in northern Kenya, where even basic healthcare is inaccessible for many.
Kenya is rated among the 10 most dangerous countries for pregnant women, according to an United Nations report (bit.ly/RFRxlK) and women have a one in 53 lifetime risk of maternal death.
Kiribati, classified as a least-developed country, faces major development challenges common to many Pacific Island
Kiribati has a reasonable health infrastructure relative to population size; however, maternal and child facilities struggle to meet the needs of the expanding population.
Every day, 10 women die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth in Madagascar.
Only 44 per cent of Malagasy women were attended by a health professional during childbirth, and only 35 per cent of deliveries take place in health facilities. Weak infrastructure, inefficient referral systems, inadequate equipment, and lack of qualified staff make access to healthcare especially difficult in rural areas.
Malawi has an extremely high level of lifetime risk of maternal death, currently at 1:36. This ranks Malawi at 154 out of the 178 countries listed in the Save the Children report titled "2014 Mothers Index Ranking".
The fertility rate in the country is extraordinarily high - at nearly six children per woman, with nearly half the pregnancies in Malawi being unplanned.
Put that together with the extremely high rate of young, teen pregnancies and the statistics get even worse.
A quarter of pregnancy deaths are among girls between 10 and 19-years-old - the complications increase the younger you are.
BKFA started working in Malawi in 2006.
Every single day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under–five and maternal mortality rate in the world.
Underneath the statistics lies the pain of human tragedy, for thousands of families who have lost their children. Even more devastating is the knowledge that, according to recent research, essential interventions reaching women and babies on time would have averted most of these deaths.
There is an obvious need for clean birth kits.
As Nigeria is such a high risk country for maternal and child health it will continue to be a priority country for the BKFA. BKFA has been distributing our birthing kits in Nigeria since 2005.
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea was the very first country that received our kits in 1999. The success of the project in PNG initiated our passion to spread to other needy countries. The lifetime risk of maternal death is 1:110 in PNG with a ranking of 164 out of 178 countries in the "2014 Mothers Index Ranking", by Save the Children. The need was great and the impact from the first 100 kits showed that at least anecdotally there was a significant reduction in maternal deaths.
Pregnancies in PNG are generally left to run their course and cloak mothers-to-be under a pall of uncertainty. Childbirth often kills.
While the death rate is due to a combination of factors – including poverty, entrenched gender inequities, lack of access to family planning and the decaying state rural health services – women in PNG die giving birth because of medical complications that are, in the Australian setting, entirely avoidable.
Giving birth in Somalia is incredibly dangerous. Somalia's maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world, and the trials faced by many women giving birth here are immense.
Traditional practices can also sometimes complicate childbirth. Female circumcision is common in Somalia and can sometimes increase the risk of obstruction or bleeding during labor.
BKFA has just commenced working in Somalia as there is a 1 in 16 lifetime risk of maternal mortality and the country is ranked 178 out of the 178 countries listed in the "2014 Mothers Index Rankings" published by Save the Children. There is an urgent need to provide safe births in Somalia and BKFA is pleased to have a reliable partner on the ground there.
Child bearing poses a serious threat to life in Tanzania.
Pregnancy for some women in the country today is a cause not for joy but for fear, not a celebration of new life but a worrisome concern- that death in childbirth is a very real possibility. The lifetime chance of death during pregnancy and child delivery runs at nearly 4 per cent, compared with 3 per cent in Sub-Saharan Africa and only 1 per cent worldwide.
There are over eight thousand maternal deaths per year and for each of these deaths, an unspecified number of women will become disabled, injured or ill owing to pregnancy.
According to the latest 'State of the World's Midwifery' report, the maternal mortality rate is worryingly high (one in 46) in Togo. By giving life, many mothers end up losing it. And, Togo only has one midwife to every seven thousand inhabitants.
A staggering 16 women die every day from childbirth-related complications, such as postpartum hemorrhage, which is easily preventable.
In Uganda, crippling poverty, potholed roads and few resources make it impossible for many pregnant women to reach urban medical facilities. Wheelbarrows commonly become ambulances.
Traditional birth attendants (TBAs) complete apprenticeships in order to help labouring women. They aren’t trained midwives, but they assist in the majority of Ugandan births, usually in rural villages.
The BKFA program in Uganda has the potential to grow with a great need for our kits with a current lifetime risk of maternal death at 1 in 49. Uganda is ranked 133 out of the 178 countries listed in the "State of the World's Mothers Report " published by Save the Children.