What We Must Do to Get Oxytocin to the Women Who Need It

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By: Helen Petach, Senior MCH Science Advisor, USAID

Limited access to quality-assured essential medicines is a common problem across the globe. Quality assurance requires strong commitment to quality-assured manufacturers, wholesalers and ongoing quality testing. For relatively inexpensive maternal commodities, such as oxytocin, that are critically important—but not used in high volume—there is little financial incentive for private health sector involvement and more reliance on the public sector to manage procurement. For example, for every pregnancy in Kenya, there are 12 cases of diarrheal disease, and thus treatment with ORS will require more doses, and perhaps lead to greater profitability, than treatment with oxytocin. Thus, quality-assured oxytocin should be a key commodity in national procurements… read more