Finnish Baby Aid Kits for improving maternal health in Somalia
7 January 2019
In the spirit of the Holiday Season and as an act of Social Responsibility, two Finnish companies donated 100 Finnish Baby Aid Kits to IOM’s MIDA FINNSOM projects. The kits will be distributed in Somalian hospitals where the project’s diaspora experts work in areas of child and neonatal health. The Finnish Baby Aid Kit, a modification of Finland’s famous Maternity Package, includes baby and maternity products, and a basic childbirth kit. Its content is suitable for use in rough conditions.
Logonet and Nuovo Nordic Healthcare Services are the two Finnish companies that have contributed to IOM’s MIDA FINNSOM project by donating to IOM 100 Finnish Baby Aid Kits. These will be distributed in Somalian hospitals where the diaspora experts of the project work in areas of child and neonatal health. The main goal of MIDA FINNSOM project is to improve maternal and child health in Somalia.
The Finnish Baby Aid Kit is a modification of the Finnish innovation called Maternity Package, which dates back to the 1930s. The Maternity Package was a vital part of the maternal and child health program placing Finland among the top countries in the world in terms of maternal and child health.
Besides basic hygiene products, the Baby Aid Kit includes a mosquito net to protect the baby from insects spreading diseases, such as malaria. The baby clothes offer also some protection from insects as they are treated with a non-toxic insect repellent that lasts up to 100 washes. To ensure the availability of sterile equipment at the time of delivery, the kit contains a basic childbirth set.
The content of the Finnish Baby Aid Kit is especially designed to be suitable for use in harsh and extreme conditions, for example during humanitarian crisis or in refugee camps. It has been developed with the help of medical and humanitarian aid experts in cooperation with Somalian health authorities.
The designers of the Finnish Baby Aid Kit have also given a thought for the world’s plastic problem and have therefore minimized the amount of plastic in the kit by packing all the clothes in one canvas bag instead of separate plastic bags. However, the box itself is plastic and has a tight lid, to make it durable and a safe place for storing its content even in rough conditions. The box can also be used for bathing the baby, as well as for example storing food items after use.
In Somalia, the neonatal mortality rate is very high. Only some women attend prenatal care during their pregnancy and choose to deliver in hospitals or clinics where trained staff can ensure safe delivery. The Finnish Baby Aid Kit will be used as an incentive for pregnant women to attend regular prenatal check-ups, as well as to encourage them to come to health care centers for delivery.
The MIDA FINNSOM projects facilitate temporary returns of qualified Somali diaspora to their country of origin to work in the field of health and education. The projects are funded by the Finnish Foreign Ministry. They are implemented in close cooperation with the local Ministries of Health and Education. Moreover, some private sector actors, like Logonet and Nuovo Nordic, are involved in the projects enabling access to their innovative services. The cooperation of all the actors has been crucial in the project.
The message both companies want to convey is that Finland and the organizations based in the country are willing and able to use their expertise to promote maternal health in Somalia.