Controlling postpartum hemorrhage after home births in Tanzania


This groundbreaking pilot study demonstrates the potential impact of misoprostol for women in rural settings. In this community-based intervention trial, misoprostol was delivered by traditional birth attendants (TBAs) for PPH treatment in rural Kigoma, Tanzania. Results show that TBAs successfully administered misoprostol. Women given misoprostol to treat PPH were far less likely to need additional intervention.

OBJECTIVES: Determine safety of household management of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) with 1000 microg of rectal misoprostol, and assess possible reduction in referrals and the need for additional interventions. METHODS: Traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in Kigoma, Tanzania were trained to recognize PPH (500 ml of blood loss). Blood loss measurement was standardized by using a local garment, the ” “kanga” “. TBAs in the intervention area gave 1000 microg of misoprostol rectally when PPH occurred. Those in the non-intervention area referred the women to the nearest facility. RESULTS: 454 women in the intervention and 395 in the non-intervention areas were eligible. 111 in the intervention area and 73 in the non-intervention had PPH. Fewer than 2% of the PPH women in the intervention area were referred, compared with 19% in the non-intervention. CONCLUSION: Misoprostol is a low cost, easy to use technology that can control PPH even without a medically trained attendant.

Published in Int J Gynaecol Obstet, 7 2005, 90(1):51-5

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N Prata
G Mbaruku
M Campbell
M Potts
F Vahidnia
Publication date: 
July 28, 2005
Publication type: 
Journal Article