ATLANTA, Ga. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - According to the World Health Organization, 800 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries. Now one woman is making it her mission to change those grim statistics and is bringing light to a place where there was only darkness.
These are the women of Uganda, a country where up to 16 moms die during childbirth every day. 45,000 newborns die every year.
It's a reality that public health student Jacquie Cutts couldn't live with after living in the country.
"I have unfortunately seen a mom lose her life on several occasions, and that should never happen," Jacqueline Cutts, the Founder of Safe Mothers, Safe Babies, tells Ivanhoe.
Jacquie started the nonprofit Safe Mothers, Safe Babies.
"I don't walk into a community and expect them to participate," explains Cutts. "I listen first."
She soon realized one of the reasons so many were dying was a lack of reliable electricity in health centers, especially at night. Providers would perform deliveries and C-sections in the dark.
Jacquie partnered with another group to bring solar suitcases to hospitals in Uganda. The kit provides lighting and also charges and powers medical devices, mobile phones, and head lamps.
Cutts says, "That one light can make such a huge difference."
The suitcases produced a 53% increase in live-birth deliveries. In fact, a midwife resuscitated a premature newborn five minutes after a solar suitcase was installed.
So far the group has installed 22 solar suitcases in Uganda. Jacquie hopes it's just the beginning.
The non-profit serves about 35 villages in Uganda. It started in 2007 and now has 17 domestic officers, two full-time paid staffers, and eleven per-diem workers. For more, visit www.safemotherssafebabies.org.