What is a mama kit?

Women receiving their kits in Kampala
A Mama Kits is an all-in-one kits that contains everything needed to help provide a clean and safe delivery.  In order to give birth in most hospitals or clinics in Uganda, you must purchase all of the necessary supplies and bring them with you.  If you do not have the supplies you will often be turned away.  Many of the women cannot buy the supplies, so they do not seek medical care, which often leads to complications and even death for the mothers and babies.  A simple gift of a $7 kit can allow the women to give birth in a hospital or clinic, or if they must give birth at home they have proper sterile supplies. Research has shown that the gift of a mama kit can greatly reduce the number of women dying during childbirth.

Here are the answers to a few of the most common questions:

What is in a mama kit?
  • Each mama kit contains plastic sheeting, razor blades, cotton wool (gauze pad), soap, gloves, cord ties, and a child health card.  Each kit also includes an instruction sheet in both English and Luganda.  All of the supplies are sealed so that they remain sterile until needed.

Where do you buy the mama kits? How much are they?
  • The mama kits are purchased from a NGO in Uganda called PACE.  Each kit costs approximately $7.

Why don't you put together your own mama kits?
  • We like the idea of supporting an organization in Uganda and contributing to their economy.  It would not be cost-efficient to make kits here and ship them.  Also, some of the supplies required by hospitals are not easily accessible here, like long rolls of cotton wool.
Where do you distribute the kits?
  • So far we've distributed kits to crisis pregnancy centers, to churches, to missionaries to hand out as they see needed, and had distrubution days in a couple of villages. I also give some to my dear friend, Harriet, who passes them out to her friends and women in the slum near where she works.
  • Passing out kits at a crisis pregnancy center in Kampala
    Passing out kits in a village
What happens if a woman does not have a mama kit when she goes into labor?
  • If a woman does not have a mama kit when she arrives at a hospital or clinic, she is usually denied help or sent away. Some clinics do offer their own kits for people to purchase, but they cost about $20.
laboring women visiting outside the hospital
If the women cannot afford a mama kit, how can they afford the hospital?
  • In the major cities in Uganda there are government-operated clinics and hospitals that care for people free of charge, if they can afford to purchase the needed supplies.
  • Delivery room at a local clinic in Uganda
    Delivery room in the village with a midwife