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Saving Lives at Birth

After travelling to Tanzania to visit rural health centres last month, Jessica Starkins, WASH project manager – community health, shares one of her experiences from the trip.


“It was an incredible experience getting to finally visit the health centres GAiN has been working in for over a year. Through the Saving Lives at Birth project, GAiN has been training birth attendants in newborn resuscitation as well as other topics. Now, getting to meet the doctors and midwives face to face, they have shared how much their knowledge has increased and that newborn mortality has decreased drastically at their health centres.


The nurse in charge of the maternal ward at Nandagala Health Center, Miraji, shared that he recently birthed a baby that was not breathing. He referred to a doctor and was told that nothing could be done, but Miraji was determined to try and felt confident from his training. So he used suction and gave breaths with a bag and mask and the baby started breathing! He couldn’t believe he could do something like this “as a nurse”. It was a special moment as he showed us each step of newborn resuscitation using a mannequin and resuscitation equipment.


A year after the training, he still knows the steps well and has used them to save two babies’ lives. 

He confidently shared, “It’s now not a problem when a baby isn’t breathing. I can see the difference before and now.”

Right now it is the rainy season so there should be sufficient water, however when I tried to use a tap to wash my hands, they had shut it off to save water. They shared that during the dry season, the tanks run out of water so they send the ambulance into town to buy some more. If the ambulance doesn’t have fuel, they have to ask patients or patients’ families to bring in water themselves and they only use it where needed.


This will all change once GAiN provides access to clean, safe water at the centre.”


GAiN has been able to drill a deep-capped water well at two health centres to bring abundant water all year round for safer births, safer surgery, hand washing and more. The health centres are both fully set up with tanks, pipes, and handwashing basins, but just not enough water to use them.


Rather than installing our usual hand pump that works well in villages, we’d like to install a pipe system to the centres. Would you help us make this possible by giving a tax deductible gift today?

Would you consider supporting the continuation of our Water for Life initiative?