Identifying and Treating Gestational Diabetes Among Women Living with HIV in Ethiopia

By Mebrahtu Abraha Gebremikael, Elke Konings and Christie Roberts, Management Sciences for Health (MSH)

This article originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) blog

Gestational diabetes may be a neglected contributor to the continuing high rates of maternal and neonatal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. Without proper care, gestational diabetes—high blood sugar that is detected during pregnancy (and can include previously undetected pre-pregnancy diabetes)—increases the risk of eclampsia, miscarriage, obstructed labor, hemorrhage and fetal death, yet pregnant women in developing countries are rarely screened for the condition. Gestational diabetes is also a leading risk factor for preterm birth and stillbirth and can lead to other newborn health complications, such as abnormal birth weight, congenital malformation, respiratory distress syndrome and hypoglycemia.

recent study conducted in Ethiopia by Management Sciences for Health at one rural and two urban health centers in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia aimed to understand the prevalence of gestational diabetes in Ethiopia and its risk factors and assess the feasibility of integrating low-cost services for gestational diabetes into antenatal care. The study found that relatively simple and low-cost interventions could help manage gestational diabetes for many women—but there were different outcomes among women living with HIV and those without the condition. Continue reading “Identifying and Treating Gestational Diabetes Among Women Living with HIV in Ethiopia”

Targeting Gestational Diabetes During Antenatal Care: Experience from Ethiopia

By Mebrahtu Abraha Gebremikael, Elke Konings and Christie Roberts, Management Sciences for Health (MSH)

This article originally appeared on the blog for the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF)

Photo by Warren Zelman

Even as more women in Ethiopia are receiving antenatal care (ANC) services, coming earlier in their pregnancies and more frequently for care, maternal mortality remains high. The leading causes of maternal death include hypertension, eclampsia, hemorrhage and obstructed labor, all of which are more common among women with gestational diabetes, or high blood sugar that is detected during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can also have serious effects on babies, including abnormal birth weight, congenital malformation, respiratory distress syndrome or stillbirth. Evidence suggests that gestational diabetes is highly treatable and, since it is associated with other conditions, there may be opportunities for integrated treatment approaches. But pregnant women in Ethiopia are rarely screened for this condition, which contributes to gaps in diagnosis and the measurement of prevalence. In fact, it is not clear how widespread the problem is around the world: Varying estimates show gestational diabetes affecting less than 1% to as many as 28% of pregnant women globally. Continue reading “Targeting Gestational Diabetes During Antenatal Care: Experience from Ethiopia”