Cost-effectiveness of misoprostol to control postpartum hemorrhage in low-resource settings


Objective: To test the cost-effectiveness of training traditional birth attendants (TBAs) to recognize postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) and administer a rectal dose of misoprostol in areas with low access to modern delivery facilities.

Method: A cost-effectiveness analysis, modeling two hypothetical cohorts of 10,000 women each giving birth with TBAs: one under standard treatment (TBA referral to hospital after blood loss ≥ 500 ml), and one attended by TBAs trained to recognize PPH and to administer 1000 μg of misoprostol at blood loss ≥ 500 ml.

Result: The misoprostol strategy could prevent 1647 cases of severe PPH (range: 810–2920) and save $115,335 in costs of referral, IV therapy and transfusions (range: $13,991–$1,563,593) per 10,000 births. By preventing severe disease and saving money, it dominates the standard approach.

Conclusion: Training TBAs to administer misoprostol to treat PPH has the potential to both save money and improve the health of mothers in low-resource settings.

Published in International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, April 2007, 97(1): 52-56

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S Bradley
N Prata
N Young-Lin
D Bishai
Publication date: 
April 6, 2007
Publication type: 
Journal Article