Dr Joy O'Hazy
Doctor and initiator of Birthing Kits
SANomineeAustralian of the Year2021
Every year, 295,000 women around the world die from pregnancy and childbirth complications. And almost 2.5 million newborns die within a month.
After discovering that many could survive with access to a few basic and clean items, Adelaide doctor Joy O’Hazy decided to act. After four years of research, she created the Birthing Kit – a zip-lock bag containing gloves, string, gauze, soap, a sterile razor blade and a plastic sheet.
In 1999, Joy’s Adelaide Hills Zonta Club, a women’s service organisation, assembled the first birthing kits, which were distributed in Papua New Guinea.
This launched the Zonta Birthing Kit project which evolved into the Birthing Kit Foundation (now KIT International), which has distributed more than 2 million birthing kits and trained more than 10,000 traditional birth attendants.
Joy has dedicated her life professionally and as a volunteer to helping women and refugees in Australia and overseas. She currently mentors young members of the South Sudanese community through the Gloria Health Association.