The worldwide burden of postpartum haemorrhage: Policy development where inaction is lethal


This article evaluates the burden of Postpartum hemorrhage, the single most common cause of maternal death and calls for bold new policies.

Abstract: Most maternal deaths occur to women who are not attended by trained health professionals. Postpartum hemorrhage is the single most common cause of maternal death. The delivery of large haemochorial placenta in our species predisposes to heavy bleeding and can be dealt with only by using effective uterotonics. The 1987 Safe Motherhood Initiative has failed to reduce maternal mortality significantly, and shortages of trained personnel will not be remedied in the foreseeable future. Bold new policies are imperative and need to be derived from an appropriate evidence base. It is suggested that these should include the low-cost shock garments in primary health facilities and making misoprostol easily accessible in both the public and private sector.

Published in International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 94(2) 2006, 116-121

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Malcolm Potts
Anke Hemmerling
Publication date: 
March 6, 2006
Publication type: 
Journal Article