We have promising developments to report about our innovative project distributing misoprostol tablets to women during antenatal care (ANC) visits. Since the project launch in January 2009, we have worked quickly with partners at the local Ifakara Research Institute to train 282 health care providers and more than 350 program staff in the use of misoprostol for postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) prevention in the four project sites of Kigoma, Kilombera, Ulanga and Rufiji. Expectant mothers received messages about misoprostol at ANC visits and in the first three months of the project, over 2,000 women took the misoprostol tablets home. The goal of this project is to save mothers’ lives by preventing PPH at home births with misoprostol tablets in women who are unable to reach a facility to deliver.
A community awareness campaign is currently underway and messages on birth preparedness and PPH prevention with misoprostol are being shared across the four districts via radio and interpersonal communication by community outreach workers.
Recall that in Tanzania most pregnant women go to at least one ANC visit (96%), yet the majority of births still take place at home. Antenatal care visits are a key contact point for reaching vulnerable women with messages about safe birthing and the importance of misoprostol. This strategic distribution model is expected to reach a large number of women with the life-saving tablets while also increasing the number of women who deliver in health facilities.
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