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WHO’s new lifesaving solution reduces severe bleeding after childbirth

by Haruna Gimba
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By Asmau Ahmad

A new solution, known as E-MOTIVE, could provide a major breakthrough in reducing deaths from childbirth-related bleeding.

This is according to a landmark study published by researchers from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the University of Birmingham.

The study revealed that the “E-MOTIVE” could provide a major breakthrough in reducing deaths from childbirth-related bleeding.

It said that Postpartum Haemorrhage (PPH) is defined as the loss of more than 500mL of blood within 24 hours after birth is the leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide.

“It affects an estimated 14 million women each year and results in around 70 000 deaths mostly in low and middle-income countries equivalent to 1 death every 6 minutes,” it said.

Dr Pascale Allotey, Director of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research at WHO said that postpartum haemorrhage was scary, not always predictable, but absolutely treatable.

“Nonetheless, its impacts around the world are tragic. No woman should fear for her life when giving birth.

“Effective solutions to tackle postpartum bleeding need to be available and accessible so that all women can experience a safe birth and a healthy future with their families,” Allotey said.

It said that the study which involved more than 200 000 women in four countries, found.that objectively measuring blood loss using a simple, low-cost collection device called a ‘drape.

It said drape meant bundling together WHO-recommended treatments rather than offering them sequentially resulted in dramatic improvements in outcomes for women.

According to the study, severe bleeding is when a woman loses more than a litre of blood after birth was reduced by 60 per cent and they were less likely to die.

It said that there was also a substantial reduction in the rate of blood transfusions for bleeding, which was of particular importance in low-income countries where blood was a scarce and expensive resource.

Prof. Arri Coomarasamy, who led the trial and Co-Director, WHO Collaborating Centre on Global Women’s Health said that the new approach could help women have chances of survival.

“This new approach to treating postpartum haemorrhage could radically improve women’s chances of surviving childbirth globally, helping them to get the treatment they need when they need it,”

“Time is of the essence when responding to postpartum bleeding, so interventions that eliminate delays in diagnosis or treatment should be gamechangers for maternal health,” Coomarasamy said.

According to the study, currently, a major challenge in responding to PPH is that it is often detected too late to respond effectively.

It said that most providers use visual inspection to assess bleeding, which tends to underestimate blood loss and can lead to life-threatening delays in treatment.

It also said that when treatment was provided, this was typically done in a sequential manner with gaps between each intervention costing more time if the first options are not effective.

“The recommended E-MOTIVE package includes early and accurate detection of PPH using a blood-collection drape.

“This is complemented by an immediate treatment bundle where indicated, including uterine massage, medicines to contract the womb and stop the bleeding, intravenous fluid administration, an examination and, when needed, escalation to advanced care.

“In the trial, the E-MOTIVE intervention was supported with an implementation strategy consisting of specific training, PPH trolleys or carry cases, engagement of local champions, audits and feedback.

“All components of the E-MOTIVE intervention can be performed by midwives,” it said.

It said that the research responded to one of the top research priorities identified by more than 130 experts from over 50 countries at the first Global Summit on PPH convened by WHO and HRP in March this year.

It said that the summit marked the start of a collaborative global initiative aiming to substantially reduce the burden of PPH and its consequences in low- and middle-income countries.

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