Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) is the leading cause of maternal mortality, accounting for about 25% of all maternal deaths. Misprostol is an easy to use drug that is shown to be successful in preventing PPH. Earlier this month, the World Health Organization added misoprostol to its List of Essential Medicines for the prevention of PPH. The news is the culmination of years of research and advocacy.
Jill Sheffield of Women Deliver writes:
Now that misoprostol is recognized as an essential medicine, we must take the next step and help translate this development into increased awareness, approval, and access in every country with a high rate of maternal death. The small white pill is inexpensive, stable even in warmer climates, and is easy-to-use, making it ideal for community-level delivery where oxytocin is not available or cannot be safely used. Simply put, this pill can save lives by preventing women from bleeding to death during and after delivery.
Krishna Jafa of PSI also lauds the decision:
The WHO’s designation of misoprostol in its List of Essential Medicines is significant because many national governments follow WHO guidelines when drawing up their own national essential medicines list; drugs on national essential medicines lists are often prioritized by governments for budgetary allocations and procurement. We can now expect that misoprostol will be more widely available in the places it is most needed.
Finally, Melanie Holden of Venture Strategies Innovations says:
Within VSI we are elated. This is a tremendous boon for women’s health and solidifies misoprostol’s role in making childbirth safer. As co-authors of the application with Gynuity Health Projects, we are enormously proud of this accomplishment and how it will translate to lives saved around the globe.