Saving Mothers' Lives in Rural Tanzania

by VSI, Venture Strategies Innovations

The Tanzanian Food and Drug Authority officially announced September 27, 2007 it has approved the registration of misoprostol for controlling postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), the life-threatening bleeding after childbirth attributed to the loss of approximately 5,250 mother's lives annually in Tanzania.

For over a year and a half, our non-profit organization Venture Strategies for Health and Development, working in collaboration with UC Berkeley's School of Public Health, has helped Tanzania obtain regulatory approval of misoprostol for controlling postpartum hemorrhage, the top cause of maternal death worldwide. The Tanzanian's registration of misoprostol for PPH is only the second in Africa after Nigeria who, with VSHD assistance, obtained the world's first regulatory approval of misoprostol for PPH in January of 2006.

Plans for misoprostol's country-wide marketing and dissemination are in progress. Integral to that strategy will be reaching the rural, poor women who stand to benefit the most by the drug's availability. The Tanzanian Government’s announcement is a positive step toward enabling traditional birth attendants to continue to provide a safer birthing environment with misoprostol for the rural women they serve.

Over the past year, Venture Strategies has been steadily working with the Tanzanian government towards registering the drug misoprostol to control postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). Since our Medical Director's groundbreaking operations research demonstrating misoprostol is safe to use at home births in Tanzania, and substantial policy and advocacy efforts, this lifesaving drug is poised for registration pending approval of the regulatory dossier.

To date we have facilitated a partnership between a high quality generic pharmaceutical manufacturer and a Tanzanian distributor, ByTrade, to submit the regulatory application to register and import misoprostol for use in controlling PPH. Additionally, Venture Strategies and our colleagues at the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley provided technical expertise to draft the regulatory dossier, which has been submitted to the Tanzanian Food and Drug Authority.

In preparation for misoprostol's forthcoming regulatory approval, we are co-hosting an expert technical meeting in October 2007 to discuss the integration of new misoprostol clinical guidelines and plans for implementation of misoprostol at the community level.

In the year since Dr. Ndola Prata published her landmark study demonstrating that misoprostol can be used safely and effectively to save mother's lives from excessive bleeding after childbirth by illiterate traditional birth attendants, significant strides have been made towards making this life-saving drug available to all Tanzanian women who die needlessly in childbirth.


In May 2006, a group of technical officials from the Ministry of Health and regulatory agency met in Tanzania's capitol city in a closed-door session to discuss potential additions to the country’s essential drug list.

The essential drug list is comprised of medicines considered so important to the population that they are given a special status.

The topic of generic-drug misoprostol was raised, and the group began to discuss. One participant raised a piece of paper with a description of the progress being made in neighboring country Ethiopia. The paper was an email announcement sent by our organization, Venture Strategies.

“Ethiopia has added this drug to their list. Women are dying in Ethiopia of this condition, and they are dying here in Tanzania. We need this drug.”

That day, the group decided to add misoprostol to their national drug list for the purpose of controlling postpartum hemorrhage, the leading cause of maternal death. Adding it to the list for this purpose has a secondary benefit – it authorizes health providers to use the drug for this important off-label purpose. This first step helps significantly to clear the way for making misoprostol widely available.

We are proud of the Tanzanians for taking this bold historic step and are pleased to be able to support them at this critical time for the country’s mothers.


About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

VSI, Venture Strategies Innovations

Location: Irvine, California - USA
Website: http:/​/​
VSI, Venture Strategies Innovations
Project Leader:
Allison Boiles
Communications Specialist
Anaheim, CA United States

Retired Project!

This project is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Find another project in Tanzania, United Republic of or in Women and Girls that needs your help.
Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.