Effectiveness of birthing kits for clean childbirth: a systematic review

Zohra S. Lassi, Zeshi Fisher, Prabha Andraweera, Alexandra Cummins, Claire T. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


Poor infection control practices during childbirth are recognised as a critical factor leading to life-threatening maternal and newborn sepsis. Therefore, this paper assesses the effectiveness of clean birth kits (CBKs) to ensure a safe birthing environment. We searched PubMed, Cochrane Library and CINAHL, as well as Google Scholar, to identify both qualitative and quantitative studies on CBKs published in English up to November 2018. Studies were included if the pregnant women or women giving birth intended to use or used a CBK. The methodological quality of included papers was assessed. A total of 37 studies, 26 quantitative and 11 qualitative studies, were included. Quantitative studies showed a positive impact of CBKs on reducing the incidence of puerperal sepsis and neonatal tetanus. The review also identified CBK use to be associated with a reduction in perinatal, neonatal and young infant mortality. Qualitative studies suggested that a lack of awareness of the importance of CBKs and clean delivery practices, unavailability of CBKs and financial constraints to purchase CBKs were the potential barriers. CBKs appear to be a promising strategy to reduce maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. However, the current evidence is limited and further large-scale trials are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-10
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com


  • birth kits
  • childbirth
  • clean birth kits
  • infection


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