Teach Traditional Ethiopian Midwives to Save Lives


In the spring of 2006, traditional midwives from the rural Tigray region of Ethiopia were trained to administer misoprostol to women after delivery during home births. The off-patent drug is used for controlling postpartum hemorrhage, the leading cause of maternal death. By September 2006, the study had been implemented in over 100 births. Early results show that traditional midwives are capable of safely and effectively providing this life-saving drug to their clients. The Ethiopian doctor heading the study recently visited one of the villages where the drug was in use. As he arrived, he was surprised to be surrounded by women singing and dancing, a spontaneous welcome party. "We are so grateful to have this drug at home," they sang. Venture Strategies is proud to be a part of this demonstration project with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health.

Ethiopia has taken an historic step to become the second country in the world to approve an old drug, misoprostol, for a new use, controlling postpartum hemorrhage. Postpartum hemorrhage, life-threatening bleeding following childbirth, is the leading cause of maternal deaths worldwide.

Our non-profit organization, Venture Strategies for Health and Development, worked with UC Berkeley's School of Public Health to help the Ethiopian Ministry of Health obtain this regulatory approval. Now the drug will be imported and made available for saving the lives of the approximately 8,200 Ethiopian women who die each year from this condition.

Our team helped Nigeria become the first country to obtain a similar regulatory approval in January.

Venture Strategies for Health and Development and UC Berkeley will continue to assist the Ethiopian Ministry of Health develop their rollout of misoprostol throughout the country with specific focus on distribution to rural areas.

Our nonprofit organization works to improve the health of low income people in resource-poor settings, by making use of existing market forces around the world. We are providing policy, medical, and distribution strategy support to several countries evaluating the introduction of misoprostol to save mothers' lives. By facilitating South-South trade, we help countries obtain high-quality low-cost health products from generic manufacturers, at their request.

If you would like to read more about our misoprostol projects and related publications, we invite you to see our web site.


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Thanks to 124 donors like you, a total of $10,373 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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Project Leader

Allison Boiles

Communications Specialist
Anaheim, CA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Teach Traditional Ethiopian Midwives to Save Lives