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This Helpful Kit For Delivering A Baby Is Saving Lives In Nigeria

Nigeria, a country located in West Africa along the Gulf of Guinea, has one of the highest numbers of maternal deaths in the world. Sadly, each day in Nigeria, 118 pregnancies end in death.

But one woman is hoping to change all of that.

Several years ago, Adepeju Jaiyeoba (Peju for short) left her well-paid legal job and founded the Brown Button Foundation - an organization that provides life-saving solutions for women and children in Nigeria. Not only does Peju's organization help to train traditional birth attendants across Nigeria to safely deliver babies, but she also developed a kit of sterile medical supplies that have sold across rural Nigeria. The kit has already saved thousands of lives.

It costs around $4, and contains essential items such as disinfectant, sterile gloves, a scalpel to cut the umbilical cord, a mat to lie on during labour and tablets to reduce bleeding after birth. Peju says it was the death of a close friend during childbirth that pushed her to look at what was happening in her country - and do something about it - particularly in rural areas where families lack proper education and facilities.

"My friend was educated and it made me sit down and wonder that if someone who is financially solvent can die at childbirth, what is happening in rural areas where they do not have the facilities?" she said.

Along with her brother, a doctor, she went to find out. And what they found was alarming.

They witnessed women giving birth on bare floors, nurses using unsanitary practices to remove mucous out of the mouths of newborns and birth attendants using rusty blades and glass to sever umbilical cords. Peju immediately developed the birthing kits in response, and to date, her organization has distributed around half a million of them. According to the foundation, the kits - in combination with proper training - have reduced deaths by bleeding after birth by a quarter in areas where they are used.

Peju's incredible work has certainly not gone unnoticed. In May 2015, she was invited by President Barack Obama to the White House to pitch her dream of expanding her organization's reach and boosting the kits' impact worldwide.

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"I remember walking into the White House and it feeling like a dream." she said. "We talked about investment in Africa and health care. It marked a turning point for the work I was doing."

The Brown Button Foundation was founded in 2011 and focuses on training Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) as well as nurses and midwives across rural communities in Nigeria.

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