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Doula on a Mission to Make Birth Safe in Laos

October 02, 2013

Clean Birth Kit - YourDoulaBag Charity of the Quarter


By Kristyn Zalota

I am on a mom and doula on a mission to make birth safer in Laos.  I first witnessed the inadequate pre- and post-natal care available to poor women, while living on the Thai-Burma border and in Cambodia.  Later, as a doula in Uganda, I discovered Clean Birth Kits. These kits contain basic birthing supplies which, research has shown, prevent birth-related infection in mothers and babies.

As I learned more about global birth, I found that Laos, a country I had visited many times while living in Thailand, has among the highest rates

of maternal and infant mortality in the world.  Hoping to help, I contacted a non-profit in Salavan Province, southern Laos, and offered to donate Clean Birth Kits and provide training.

In November 2012, I traveled to Salavan and deep into remote Tahoy Province.  The founder of the Lao local non-profit and I trained nurses in the use and distribution of Clean Birth Kits.  The nurses were so impressive, asked intelligent questions and adapted the program to match the needs of their patients.

The nurses told me that, due to religious beliefs, women give birth alone in the forest, often with fatal consequences.

Thanks to the support of over 300 donors in the US and abroad, I returned to Salavan in July 2013, to train 12 more nurses and provide 1,000 Clean Birth Kits.

With the nurses, we developed an additional training for women from remote villages to become CleanBirth Volunteers.  These Volunteers, representatives chosen from each village, will attend trainings led by the local nurses about Clean Birth Kits and safe birthing practices.  Our hope by funding these trainings is that CleanBirth Volunteers will become a trusted, in-village source of safe birthing information for pregnant women.

We are so grateful to have the support of Alice Turner and   Every contribution goes a long way to making birth safer.  For just $5, we can give a mother in Laos a Clean Birth Kit and education about safe birthing practices.

Every mother deserves the chance to survive birth and to give her baby a healthy start.  $5 Saves 2 Lives in Laos.

Kristyn Zalota is the founder of, a non-profit working to improve maternal and infant health in Laos.  She holds MA from Yale, is a DONA doula and Lamaze educator.  She lives in New Haven, CT with her husband and two children.  Click here to watch Kristyn talking about her project.  Email her are


As the charity of the quarter, $3 from every backpack sold at during the months of October through December will be donated to

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