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- Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - From Print Edition


The National Committee for Maternal and Neonatal Health and its partner organisations have launched a project: Saving Women’s Lives with Misoprostol.


NCMNH is advocating for the inclusion of Misoprostol in the National Essential Medicines List of Pakistan. This will ensure its availability to women through public sector facilities, even in remote areas, according to NCMNH representatives.


According to the 2006-07 Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS), maternal mortality ratio in Pakistan is 276, per 100,000 live births, which is the highest in South Asia. Every 30 minutes a woman dies due to pregnancy and child birth-related causes. The most common cause of maternal deaths is excessive blood loss after childbirth; abortion-related complications are also among the five major causes of maternal deaths. The women who die are usually poor, marginalized, live in rural areas and are in the prime of their lives.


However, a majority of these maternal deaths are preventable. Misoprostol is a life saving medicine.


“I can’t imagine life without misoprostol,” said Dr. Azra Ahsan, a gynaecologist and obstetrician and a member of NCMNH.


Misoprostol is effective in the prevention and treatment of excessive bleeding after childbirth. It can also be used for treating complications of abortion. It is registered in Pakistan, is affordable, available, easy to store and easy to use. Misoprostol is also included in WHO’s Model List of Essential Medicines. It is recommended for prevention and treatment of post-abortion complications and prevention of PPH in low resource settings.


“Misoprostol is a safe and effective drug that I have been using for over two years for the prevention and treatment of PPH and post abortion care,” said Dr. Samrina Hashmi, gynaecologist and obstetrician.


“Misoprostol has saved many precious lives. During the historic flood disaster in Pakistan, deliveries in IDP camps were conducted. The deliveries experience with Misoprostol containing delivery kits showed no PPH,” said Nighat Shah, consultant gynaecologist and secretary general Society of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists of Pakistan.


Gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr. Sadiah Ashan Pal said, “I am using Misoprostol for all its indications in Obstetrics & Gynaecology for the past 14 years. I have presented my experience and instructed doctors & Midwives attending childbirth to carry the tablets in their purse at all times to save lives of their patients, and save themselves from the immense stress of dealing with PPH.”