Celebrating Solutions to Postpartum Hemorrhage on World Blood Donor Day

This World Blood Donor Day, Every Mother Counts is highlighting the important work of our partner Ujenzi Charitable Trust’s Every Second Matters Uterine Balloon Tamponade — a lifesaving tool for women experiencing postpartum hemorrhage. Postpartum hemorrhage (PPM) is the number one cause of maternal deaths worldwide, yet the condition is fully treatable with the right equipment and training, and access to blood supplies.Eighty percent of the world’s population — generally making up the poorest countries — has access to just 20 percent of the global blood supply.

For these reasons, a death from PPM in industrialized countries is very rare.

Postpartum hemorrhage is painful, and it can happen quickly and unexpectedly, which is why every second matters when treating a woman suffering from it. The ESM-UBT device is a low-cost (< $5) device fashioned from a condom into a balloon that, when inserted, applies enough pressure to effectively stop the bleeding. It is highly effective at stopping postpartum hemorrhage after other methods have failed. If a woman who is hemorrhaging uncontrollably is at a facility where the provider has been trained and has an ESM-UBT device, she has nearly a 100% chance of survival if the ESM-UBT device is placed before she goes into advanced shock.

Every Mother Counts has been supporting Ujenzi Trust’s/Massachusetts General’s training and rollout of the UBT device in Tanzania since 2015. Ujenzi Trust and the Ob-Gyns and midwives who have been trained under the program have become passionate champions for the device. Since that time, the World Health Organization has named it as a best practice in treating PPM. The stories below tell firsthand the impact the program has had on women whose lives were saved.

From Latifa, who delivered at Mwananyamala hospital in Dar es Salaam, in her own words: This was my 6th pregnancy and currently I have 4 children. That day I was expected to deliver at around ten hours but till around 11 hours I had not yet delivered and labor pains would just come and go. Doctors started to discuss because I had stayed for a long time and eventually they deliver the baby by Vacuum Extraction. Soon after delivery placenta retained for a while but eventually they managed to remove it. During all this time I was continuously bleeding and I was given plenty of fluid and they inserted the uterine balloon and the bleeding stopped at once.

From Fatma, who delivered at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, in her own words: That was my 3rd pregnancy. Problem started while at home bleeding and I was taken to a nearby hospital called Zakhem and then refer red to Temeke hospital and to Muhimbili National Hospital. At Muhimbili hospital labor was augmented and delivered a stillbirth baby. Then soon after delivery of placenta, I started profuse vaginal bleeding and this took some time eventually they inserted a uterine balloon tamponade and the bleeding stopped at once.

Learn more about the work that Every Mother Counts supports at everymothercounts.org.

Topics: Maternal Health