This post is the third installment by Kristyn Zalota, Founder of CleanBirth.org, about her work in Laos. To read the first post in the series,click here: “One Mom’s Mission to Save Lives in Laos”. To read the second post, click here: “Small Project Big Impact: Making Birth Safe in Laos”.
As you may know from my previous posts, I am a mom on a mission to make birth safer in Laos. This month my organization, CleanBirth.org, has the goal of raising enough funds to save 1,000 mothers and 1,000 babies.
I am a doula, Lamaze educator, and advocate for safe birth for impoverished women. I was drawn to work in Laos, because women there die at a higher rate than Afghani women and Lao babies die at a higher rate than babies in Sudan.
In November 2012, I traveled to southern Laos and, with my Lao partner organization, trained nurses in the use and distribution of Clean Birth Kits. When the nurses told me that women give birth alone, I agreed to fund community education about safe birthing practices
Having completed the nurses’ training, we went deep into the mountains to visit the clinics there. I immediately sensed the grinding poverty of the area. People live on $1 per day. The life expectancy of women is short, either due to childbirth (8-12 births) or disease. Most will lose several babies.
What do you see when you walk into the villages? Naked kids with runny noses. Mothers with babies in slings. Bamboo and wood one-room dwellings on stilts. No electricity, not a single store. While a new road connecting Thailand and Vietnam is bringing change, it is mostly in the form of human trafficking, HIV, and environmental degradation. (more…)