Advocacy success story: Kenya approves misoprostol for PPH

Melissa Wanda Kirowo is advocacy project officer for FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health in Kenya. 

This blog post provides an update to an earlier post.

The Kenya Constitution states that every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, including reproductive health. To realize this right, every person must have access to high-quality, life-saving medicines.

Photo credit: Mark Tuschman
Photo credit: Mark Tuschman

Recently, the government achieved great strides toward making this right to health a reality for its citizens. For the first time, the Kenya Essential Medicines List 2016 (KEML) included misoprostol in the oxytocics section, indicating its use for the prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), excessive bleeding after childbirth and a leading cause of maternal death. Misoprostol is stable at room temperature, available in pill form, and inexpensive. Because of these advantages and the drug’s wide availability, misoprostol may be a woman’s only chance for surviving PPH in settings with limited infrastructure and a shortage of skilled birth attendants–like many parts of Kenya. Continue reading “Advocacy success story: Kenya approves misoprostol for PPH”

Global Leaders in Maternal Newborn Health: Maria Fernandez Elorriaga (Mexico)

By Kayla McGowan, Project Coordinator, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

This article originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force blog.

In July 2016, global leaders gathered for the second annual Safe Mothers and Newborns Leadership Workshop (SMNLW) hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) in partnership with the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and The Aga Kahn University and sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The participants represented 26 countries from five continents.

Maria Fernandez Elorriaga (Mexico)SMNLW participant Maria Fernandez Elorriaga is the principal investigator and technical coordinator of a study investigating the use of the World Health Organization (WHO) Safe Childbirth Checklist to improve the quality of institutional delivery in Mexico. Maria is also co-investigator on two more studies of implementation science in maternal and perinatal care. In addition, Maria has worked as a primary and community care nurse in Spain, as a regional nutrition coordinator in Malawi and as child health and nutrition coordinator in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria. Continue reading “Global Leaders in Maternal Newborn Health: Maria Fernandez Elorriaga (Mexico)”

Emergency contraception: The reproductive health innovation everyone should know about

By Elizabeth Westley and Monica Kerrigan

Elizabeth Westley leads the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception. Monica Kerrigan is a global leader in family planning and previously served at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and as a senior adviser to Family Planning 2020.

This article originally appeared on Devex.

Unintended pregnancies take a harrowing toll on women, young people, families and nations. When women are unable to decide whether and when to have children, maternal and newborn deaths rise, educational and economic opportunities are lost, families, communities and countries suffer greatly.

Global data highlights the tremendous challenge we face: 213 million pregnancies occur annually and an astonishing 40 percent — about 85 million — of these are unintended. In the United States alone, there are approximately 3 million unintended pregnancies each year, and in India, a staggering 18 million. A woman’s ability to make informed decisions about her reproductive health is one of the most basic human rights. It is a decision that can determine what kind of future she will have — and whether she will have one at all.

Emergency contraception is a unique tool for women to space and time their pregnancies. It is grossly underutilized, underfunded, and not fully optimized globally. It is the only contraceptive method that can be taken after unprotected sex and is effective for several days to prevent pregnancy. It is especially needed by women who have been sexually assaulted, who are often desperate to avoid becoming pregnant by their rapist. Continue reading “Emergency contraception: The reproductive health innovation everyone should know about”

Maternal-newborn health: Quality, equity, and dignity for all

By Amy Boldosser-Boesch, FCI Program of MSH; Olive Cocoman, WHO; Mary Kinney, Save the Children; Betsy McCallon, White Ribbon Alliance; Kadi Toure, PMNCH

Originally appearing on the Healthy Newborn Network blog, this article provides an update to a previous post on maternal and newborn health integration.

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The Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and AdolescentsHealth (Global Strategy) calls for ending all preventable maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths. Greater quality of care is needed to preserve and protect the health of both mothers and babies, especially for those living in areas that are hardest to reach and where crisis prevails. At the Women Deliver conference in May, maternal and newborn health experts and advocates united to launch a powerful, integrated advocacy campaign focused on quality, equity and dignity of care for all mothers and babies. Continue reading “Maternal-newborn health: Quality, equity, and dignity for all”

Sharing strategies for integrating maternal and newborn care: Strengthening the continuum

By Amy Boldosser-Boesch and Mary Kinney

Amy Boldosser-Boesch, is Interim President and CEO of Family Care International (FCI) and Mary Kinney is Specialist with Save the Children, Saving Newborn Lives. This post originally appeared on the Healthy Newborn Network blog.

The global health community gathered on Tuesday evening, May 19 to recognize the importance of integrating maternal and newborn care and to celebrate the release of the Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) Progress Report May 2015 and Strategies Toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM). The side session at the 68th World Health Assembly Integrating maternal and newborn care: Strengthening the continuum was standing room only as a panel of champions for integration of maternal and newborn health took the stage. Co-sponsored by the Governments of Malawi and Cameroon, this event was planned with the support of a wide range of partners.*

Panelists give remarks at the Sharing Strategies for Integrating Maternal and Newborn Care: Strengthening the continuum side event in Geneva. Photo: PMNCH
Panelists give remarks at the Sharing Strategies for Integrating Maternal and Newborn Care: Strengthening the continuum side event in Geneva. Photo: PMNCH

Continue reading “Sharing strategies for integrating maternal and newborn care: Strengthening the continuum”

Misoprostol for treatment of postpartum hemorrhage added to WHO Essential Medicines List

Shafia Rashid is senior program officer for Global Advocacy at Family Care International.

For more than five years, FCI has been working with Gynuity Health Projects and other partners to build the evidence base for expanded availability and use of misoprostol for the prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). PPH is the leading cause of maternal death, and misoprostol is a safe, effective medicine that is especially practical in low-resource settings, because it is available as a tablet and does not require refrigeration or injection.

This week marked an important milestone in global efforts to make misoprostol available to the women who need it, as the World Health Organization (WHO) approved its inclusion on the Model List of Essential Medicines (EML) for the treatment of PPH. Misoprostol was included on the EML for prevention of PPH in 2011, and the recent decision signifies WHO’s full endorsement of misoprostol as an essential maternal health medicine in settings where oxytocin — which requires cold storage and intravenous injection — is not available or cannot be used safely. The WHO Expert Committee for the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines, a panel that meets every two years to update the EML, recommended that misoprostol be listed for the additional indication of treating PPH[1] and retained on the list for prevention of PPH. Continue reading “Misoprostol for treatment of postpartum hemorrhage added to WHO Essential Medicines List”