To culminate our project introducing misoprostol tablets to prevent bleeding in childbirth among women who deliver at home in Northern Nigeria, we convened hundreds of community members, government representatives and other advocates for safe motherhood in Zaria in February 2010.
Our collaborative project with Ahmadu Bello University and the UC Berkeley Bixby Center successfully demonstrated that distributing misoprostol tablets in these communities was safe and significantly increased protection against life-threatening bleeding after childbirth, the leading cause of maternal death in Nigeria. But perhaps more importantly, the communities are enthusiastic about the new drug, "miso."
Two mothers from the community of Hayin Ojo, Safiya and Hauwa, who took misoprostol in their most recent deliveries spoke in front of the crowd of over 400 people. With their babies on their backs, they expressed gratitude for having access to the tablets and noted how their fears of bleeding are now alleviated. So too did village chiefs and local religious leaders extend gratitude for "this tablet that saves the lives of our mothers, sisters and wives."
As we continue to work with local partners and the government to expand access to misoprostol tablets for life-threatening bleeding, we are grateful for the support of those who share in our goal of reducing the number of women who die unnecessarily while giving life in Nigeria.