Traditional midwife and her twins
Women in our five project communities in Northern Nigeria continue to express enthusiasm about misoprostol and its role in ensuring safe childbirth.
A traditional midwife we trained in the village of Hayin Ojo recounted the story of her own experience taking misoprostol. She delivered her own twins alone on the dirt floor of her home when she began hemorrhaging badly. As she is one of several community members distributing misoprostol in the project communities, she had the life-saving tablets on hand. Thankfully, she was able to take the tablets in time to stop the bleeding and save her own life. This woman has become a vocal advocate for misoprostol for management of excessive bleeding, as have all of the traditional midwives in her village.
The women of Northern Nigeria bear one of the world’s great burdens of maternal death due to postpartum hemorrhage, or excessive bleeding after childbirth. In this primarily Muslim area, most women deliver in their homes and given the paucity of health services, without the benefit of a skilled health care provider. Our project in Kaduna State in collaboration with the Bixby Center at UC Berkeley and Ahmadu Bello University is providing women who will deliver at home misoprostol tablets to prevent life-threatening hemorrhage.
To date, over 1,200 women have taken misoprostol to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. We are pleased to report that the community support and enthusiasm about misoprostol has translated into 99% of home births in the project communities protected with misoprostol tablets in October of 2009, up from 55% in January.
We are thankful for the support of donors committed to saving mothers’ lives in settings with the most need.