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Misoprostol will reduce maternal mortality rate

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th July 2006 03:00 AM

THE 505 per 100, 000 live births is a shameful maternal mortality rate for modern Uganda. The figure has not declined substantially over the past 20 years.

THE 505 per 100, 000 live births is a shameful maternal mortality rate for modern Uganda. The figure has not declined substantially over the past 20 years.

By Apollo Mubiru
THE 505 per 100, 000 live births is a shameful maternal mortality rate for modern Uganda. The figure has not declined substantially over the past 20 years.
Women die during child delivery due to excessive bleeding after birth (Post Partum Haemorrhage -PPH), which is the most common, taking up more than 25% of deaths annually. Others are sepsis, 15%, unsafe abortions, 15%, hypertension, 12%, prolonged labour, 8% and pre-existing disorders, 20%.
Speaking at a workshop organised by Uganda Population Secretariat in Kampala recently, health minister Dr. Stephen Malinga, a trained obstetrician, said Uganda’s maternal mortality rate is what the Netherlands had in 1918.
“We should do something to change the situation,” Malinga said.
Dr Angela Akol, the head of family health at the Population Secretariat, said there is a drug, Misoprostol, which can help cut most of the complications.
“This drug was developed from a study done here in Uganda in the 1940s, but our mothers are yet to benefit from it,” she said.
The ministry of health plans to have Misoprostol registered by the National Drug Authority (NDA).
This was announced at the workshop, where Dr. Pius Okongo, a senior obstetrician and gynaecologist at Nsambya Hospital, presented the medical facts about Misoprostol.
He said the drug is widely available in over 80 countries including USA, France, India, Brazil and Vietnam. In Africa, it is available in only two countries so far – Egypt and Ethiopia.
Okongo said Misoprostol reduces bleeding, opens the cervix, induces labour, empties the uterus, helps to avoid surgical procedures and has no effects on bronchi or blood vessels.
Akol says the drug has been around for some time, but is registered as a treatment for ulcers. “It is very affordable because a tablet costs around sh370.”
The process of registration has not started yet, says Akol. But it will start as soon as a pharmaceutical company submits a dossier to NDA.
Malinga told the workshop that during the 25 years of practising as an obstetrician in the United States, he only saw three women die of PPH.
He therefore endorsed Misoprostol as an effective intervention in reducing maternal mortality and infant mortality.
Ends

Misoprostol will reduce maternal mortality rate

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