Mother and Son from our Kenyan Program
Empowering Midwives to Save Lives
In Kenya complications related to pregnancy and child birth are among the leading causes of maternal morbidity and mortality. Targeting maternal health interventions to reach those women who have difficulty accessing health care is a high priority in Kenya given the gross disparities in the ability for the majority rural population to reach a health facility.
To reduce postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) cases for women who are unable to reach a facility to deliver, VSI teamed up with a Nairobi based nonprofit, Organization for Health Education Research Service (OHERS), on a project aimed to reduce the number of women dying due to excessive bleeding at home births by distributing misoprostol tablets through community midwives who conduct home deliveries. Misoprostol (or "miso") is an easy-to-use generic tablet that is safe, affordable and practical in a village setting, and it has tremendous lifesaving effects. When a mother takes three tablets immediately after delivery, it can greatly improve her chances of surviving childbirth from hemorrhage.
Focused in the rural communities of the Emuhaya district, objectives of this collaborative project are to (1) ensure community midwives and pharmacists have access to misoprostol, (2) that they are trained on its use and benefits for the management of PPH and (3) are educated on the dangers of PPH in home settings. Since the project commencement in November, we’re delighted to share that community midwives are reporting a monthly increase in number of deliveries which means more women are coming to them for services, perhaps motivated the benefit of misoprostol. Trained by a VSI coordinator, community midwives were educated on the use of misoprostol during home deliveries and in clinics where oxytocin is not available. To date, the project has trained and sensitized over 30 community midwives and 10 local pharmacists who also maintain a stock of misoprostol to create sustainability of the project.
As we approach Mother’s Day, we would like to extend our deepest thanks for support through Global Giving in making childbirth safer for mothers. Please consider continuing your support by joining our “I am a mother” campaign and giving through Global Giving or visiting us online to learn how to get involved – www.vsinnovations.org/mothers.