Church assembles birth kits for SI women

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Waitara, New South Wales 

Babies in Solomon Islands will now have a greater chance of life, thanks to a special project organised by a Sydney church.

It might not sound like much, but to the locals of the Western Province of the Solomon Islands, it means a greater chance of life.

Waitara Seventh-day Adventist Church recently partnered with medical mission organisation SONSHIP (Serving Overseas by SHIP) to put together 500 birthing kits for women in the Solomon Islands. Led by Melinda Sydenham with the Waitara Pathfinders team, over 60 people gave up their Saturday night to make a difference.

Production lines were set up in the church hall where volunteers worked in teams to assemble the birthing kits. The kits are little packs that consist of a clean plastic sheet for the mother and baby, a sterile blade, some gauze, two pieces of string, soap, and disposable gloves.

“It might not sound like much,” said Shane Bowditch, communications officer for Waitara Church, “but to the locals of the Western Province of the Solomon Islands, it means a greater chance of life.”

The birthing kits.

According to Birthing Kit Foundation Australia, each year, an estimated 385,000 women die in childbirth in developing countries, often from preventable infections.

The 500 birthing kits will now be flown in a crate to Solomon Islands and distributed via the Medisonship boats, a SONSHIP initiative. They will be given to women on remote islands where medical aid as many know it is non-existent.

Originally just one old boat travelling around the Solomons, Medisonship II was launched in 2015 as an express way to transport emergency patients to faraway hospitals. Medisonship III joined the fleet in January 2016. Instead of running on traditional diesel, these boats are fueled by refined coconut oil, and travel the Solomon Sea, serving those who need help. 

“Since 2008, SONSHIP has been taking the gospel to the Solomons as Jesus would—by meeting people’s needs,” said Mr Bowditch. “They have opened doors in many places where Adventism was previously banned.”

All smiles: It’s hard not to be happy when you know you’re making a difference.

For more information on how you could help Medisonship, please contact Trevor Oliver on sonship@bigpond.com.