DEAUVILLE, France In a smart publicity stunt, a leading charity has traded on rumors about Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's possible pregnancy to try and save lives of babies in the developing world.
Ahead of the G8 summit of rich countries which has made cutting child mortality a major theme in recent years, activists from World Vision delivered a basket to the French First Lady with a childbirth kit readily available in France.
"These are simple items that any woman in Europe or North America can get at the drug store but are unaccessible for many women in the developing world," Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz of Britain's World Vision charity told Reuters.
Ryerson-Cruz said her charity fights to try to make sure that all the world's children have the same chance of survival that the French "First Baby" would have.
The French presidential palace has not confirmed Bruni's pregnancy, but last week President Nicolas Sarkozy's father told a German newspaper that Bruni is expecting a child.
At the historic Villa Strassburger, activists from World Vision delivered a basket with vitamins for pregnant women, a safe childbirth kit and hygiene supplies.
The basket had sterilizing alcohol, surgical gloves, a razor blade to cut the umbilical cord and baby care products.
Friday, Bruni will host first ladies of African nations attending the summit.
"As a French woman, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is 150 times more likely to survive pregnancy and childbirth than a woman in former French colony Chad," Ryerson-Cruz said in an interview.
Ryerson-Cruz said that Bruni's baby is also 52 times more likely to survive till the age of five than a baby in Chad, which has one of the worst child mortality records in the world.
Sarkozy hosts the leaders of the world's eight richest countries at ritzy seaside resort town Deauville Thursday and Friday. Several North African and sub-Saharan African heads of state will also attend the meeting.
Ryerson-Cruz said that World Vision estimates that mainly thanks to G8 initiatives of the past years the number of preventable deaths of children globally has fallen by about 4 million to about 8.1 million in 2010, from 12.4 million in 1990.