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60% of maternal deaths preventable with a Rs17 drug, stress experts

60% of maternal deaths preventable with a Rs17 drug, stress experts

KARACHI: The post-partum hemorrhage (PPH) or bleeding after a woman gives birth is the leading cause of death among Pakistani women, which is alarming as more than 60 per cent of such cases could be prevented with the effective usage of uterotonic medicine, said health experts.

“More than 8,000 women die and about 150,000 women suffer from its complications every year in Pakistan,” disclosed Pakistan National Forum on Women Health (PNFWH) president Dr Shershah Syed on the occasion of the International Women’s Day at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday.

Primary PPH is usually due to uterine atony, which is the failure of the uterus to contract and retract, but it can be prevented by taking some necessary precautions. According to the PNFHW data, the complication is accounting for about 30 per cent of all maternal deaths in Pakistan.
“About 27 per cent of the women die from such complications because of the unavailability of medicine,” shared consultant gynaecologist Dr Nighat Shah.

Dr Shah said medicine, such as Misoprostol tablets, could save thousands of women, adding that every female doctor, nurse and midwife should keep at least 10 tablets in their pocket all the time. He lamented that most of the mothers go through complicated pregnancies for having a son without worrying about their health.

Talking on the issue of the health of mother and child, PNFWH Midwifery adviser Fareeda Shah said that the role of a midwife is very important. “The levels of nutrition among women in Sindh are very low,” she said. “Pregnancies are risky in our country and the issue could be overcome with competent midwives.”

The PNFWH has provided trainings on the usage of Misoprostol tablets to about 2,000 community health workers, including doctors, midwives, lady health workers and lady health visitors. “We demand the government include this drug in the essential drug list and ensure its availability to reduce maternal mortality,” urged the participants.

Pakistan Medical Association’s Dr Qazi Wasiq said that Pakistan could not expect a healthy generation in the future without proper population planning. “We have to seriously look into the issue of cancer among women,” he said, adding that vaccination is available in the market to prevent the disease.

The health experts said that the role of a midwife is very important, stressing Pakistan needs more than 200,000 midwives. They said that these workers at basic health units will not only save lives of women from pregnancy-related deaths but will also create awareness about the preventive measures to avoid cancers.

Express Tribune

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