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UNFPA’s Clean Birthing Kits for Women in Emergencies to be Spotlighted on ABC News

Be the Change: Save a Life

Year-Long Global Health Series Kicks Off Friday, December 17  

NEW YORK - Prominent American broadcaster, ABC News, just announced a yearlong project to focus attention on the diseases and health conditions that disproportionately afflict the world's poorest people. The series, "Be the Change: Save a Life," premiers Friday, December 17, 2010 at 10 p.m. and will examine six of the world’s top health problems, and share simple and practical ways the American public can make an immediate difference. UNFPA’s Clean Birthing Kits for Women in Emergencies will be spotlighted in the series kick off.


On Friday, anchor Diane Sawyer will compare a maternity ward in Brooklyn, New York, to one in Afghanistan, which has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world. Afghan women have a one in eleven lifetime risk of maternal death and over 90% give birth without assistance.

UNFPA's clean birth kit will be prominently featured during Friday’s series premiere. The emergency clean birthing kit can mean life or death for a pregnant woman and her baby. The kit is designed for pregnant women who are unable to get to a health facility in time, due to a crisis or emergency situation. Over the last five years UNFPA has distributed more than one million clean birthing kits in emergency situations globally. In 2010, these kits helped women in Haiti, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, DRC, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia.

In a crisis or refugee situations, one in five women of childbearing age is likely to be pregnant. Conflicts and natural disasters put these women and their babies at risk because of the sudden loss of medical support, compounded in many cases by trauma, malnutrition or disease, and exposure to violence. UNFPA seeks to make motherhood as safe as possible during crisis situations by providing care before, during and after delivery.

ABC is calling on viewers to support UNFPA’s efforts to save women’s lives in Afghanistan and around the world. Here are simple and practical ways the American public can make an immediate difference: 

$11 provides 3 emergency birthing kits that come with a bar of soap, a clear plastic sheet, a razor blade, an umbilical cord tie, cloth, latex gloves and a pictorial information sheet. 

$25 provides a woman with hygiene essentials for six months, enabling her to maintain her dignity. 

$50 provides vital antenatal care for 10 women through UNFPA's Keep Mothers Alive Program. 

$150 Provides supplies, medications and equipment to a rural health clinic to help safely manage many obstetric emergencies. 

$400 Equips a midwife and maternity ward to help 50 women delivery healthy babies. 

UNFPA works in over 150 countries to provide women with skilled delivery assistance in health facilities and information to improve their health and rights. UNFPA also works with governments and partners to strengthen health systems and increase access to care ensure that no woman dies while giving life. UNFPA responds every day and in emergencies.

To learn more ways to help solve the world’s top health problems, visit:, ABC’s new dedicated website, a clearing-house for global health information. It is geared to viewers of the new ABC series who want to know more to make a difference in their own communities and around the world. will simultaneously present a World Health page featuring the global reporting of all the correspondents, alongside a rich archive of global health coverage from the ABC News medical unit. The coverage will include a vast library of videos from all the ABC News broadcasts and original text pieces from the medical unit.

Americans for to get involved, long term, in nationwide efforts to improve the health and rights of women globally.

Visit to learn more about UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

Americans for UNFPA builds moral, political and financial support within the United States for UNFPA. UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, provides women’s health care and promotes the rights of women in 150 countries. It is the largest multilateral source of such assistance. 

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. learn more about UNFPA's work.