TIME’s Maternal Health portfolio focuses on the following three areas:

1. Maternal Health Seminar

2. Days for Girls Packing Day and Underwear Drive

3. Zonta Birthing Kit Project

In 2015, TIME’s involvement in the Zonta Birthing Kit Project was as strong as ever, with over 70 students volunteering their time over two days to assist in the packing of over 15,000 birthing kits at Somerville House. These kits will be distributed to women in developing countries to provide a clean and safe birthing environment, which in turn will reduce infant and maternal morbidity and mortality.

The Q&A event held in September drew upon different perspectives of maternal health in a global context. We were fortunate to welcome three wonderful speakers: 

• Caroline Myoni (Medecins Sans Frontieres midwife)

• Erin McCabe (Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation spokesperson)

• Fran Boyle (UQ School of Public Health researcher on the issues of neonatal death and still birth)

These three speakers were very engaging and their presentations provoked much discussion among students about how to get involved in healthcare research and volunteering abroad.

Finally, the Days for Girls Project this year consisted of both a Desperate for Dacks underwear drive and a packing day. The Desperate for Dacks drive managed to raise 970 pairs of underwear, which will contribute to making 485 sanitary kits. At the packing day, students packed underwear into sanitary kits and heard inspiring stories about the difference these kits make to the lives of girls, in particular, enabling girls to attend school.

Days for Girls

Background 

Every day, hundreds of girls and women around the world menstruate, but have no way to manage it. Consequently, they miss days from school, days from work, days from managing the household... Unfortunately this is a contributing factor to the continued disadvantage of many women throughout the world. And yet is a situation that many of us here in Australia cannot even imagine.

Days for Girls (DfG) is a charity with branches throughout Australia and the world that is dedicated to combat this situation. DfG helps girls and women gain access to quality sustainable feminine hygiene and awareness, by direct distribution of sustainable feminine hygiene kits, by partnering with non-profits, groups and organizations, by raising awareness, and by helpingcommunities around the world start their own programs to promote sustainable development. Thanks to a global grassroot network of thousands of volunteers and supporters on 6 continents, we have reached women and girls in 76 countries on 6 continents. 

2014: TIME's project recognised by AMSA Global Health 

TIME’s assembly day and underwear drive to support DfG was recognised among the FIVE BEST GLOBAL HEALTH PROJECTS in Australia at the AMSA Global Health Conference. TIME Reps had to opportunity to present the project to the AMSA Global Health Council, and then set up a stall to spread the word at the AMSA Global Health Conference. Potentially, we will see more Desperate for Dacks initiatives throughout Australia as a result. 

More about Maternal Health:

  • In 2000, world leaders came together to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, which committed their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and set a series of targets to be achieved by 2015: In September 2001, 147 heads of states collectively endorsed Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5: To reduce child mortality rate by 2/3 and maternal mortality ratio by 3/4 between 1990 and 2015.
  • A women dies from complications in childbirth every minute – about 529,000 each year — the vast majority of them in developing countries.
  • A woman in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 16 chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth, compared to a 1 in 4,000 risk in a developing country – the largest difference between poor and rich countries of any health indicator
  • Over 80% of maternal deaths worldwide are due to five direct causes: haemorrhage, sepsis, unsafe abortion, obstructed labour and hypertensive disease of pregnancy.
  • Attendance at births by skilled personnel is most effective way of preventing maternal death; attendance at births has remained unchanged in sub-Saharan Africa over the past 15 years, whereas in East Asia there has been a considerable increase in the proportion of births attended by skilled health care personnel and a related significant decline in maternal deaths.

For more information, check out the following resources: