With support from PATH’s Fund for Health Technologies as well as other donors, a uterine balloon tamponade (UBT) technology that is widely available in developed countries for the treatment and management of postpartum hemorrhage is now being adapted to meet the complex health needs of new mothers in developing countries. Postpartum hemorrhage is the single most common cause of maternal morbidity and mortality in developing countries—accounting for 25 percent of maternal deaths globally each year.
The UBT can be used to effectively treat and manage severe postpartum hemorrhage, even in low-resource health care settings. It also reduces the need for risky and costly surgical interventions and blood transfusions. When inserted into the uterus and slowly filled with water, the minimally invasive technology exerts pressure on the uterus until the bleeding stops. In developing countries, where children are often born outside of a formal clinical setting, the UBT holds additional promise by allowing a local health worker or midwife to rapidly stabilize the patient until she can be transported to a clinic or other facility for further treatment options and recovery. Because the current commercial product is prohibitively expensive for developing-country maternal health programs, PATH is collaborating with our partners to advance the development and manufacture of a low-cost UBT design.
Photo: PATH/Patrick McKern.
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