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Life Lessons: Saving moms, saving babies

By Nancy Werteen, Anchor / Reporter, NWerteen@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 20 2013 04:00:00 AM CDT

Life lessons saving moms saving babies

According to the World Health Organization, 800 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Ninety-nine percent of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.

Six years ago, a college student at Vassar College in New York State started a project that has now turned into a global initiative.

Public health student Jacquie Cutts went to live in Uganda and discovered 16 moms die during childbirth every day.

It's a reality that Jacquie couldn't live with.

"I have unfortunately seen a mom lose her life on several occasions, and that should never happen."

She started the non-profit Safe Mothers, Safe Babies.

"I don't walk into a community and expect them to participate. 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.

"That one light can make such a huge difference, " says Jacquie.

The suitcases produced a 53 percent increase in live-birth deliveries!

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. For more information, visit www.safemotherssafebabies.org.