Friday, 16 November 2007

Govt makes pronouncement on post-partum haemorrhage drug

FRIDAY Nov 16, 2007

BENIN NIGERIA ------As Post-Partum Haemorrhage (PPH) continues to be the leading cause of maternal deaths in Nigeria accounting for 25% of maternal mortality, the search for a drug that can be administered to women especially in rural and resource poor setting got a boost with the federal ministry of health making a pronouncement on the drug Misoprostol. This is because the burden of maternal mortality rests on the grass root population and since this drug requires little/no expertise; its use should be promoted in order to reduce PPH which hitherto is the commonest cause of maternal mortality.

Dr Moji Odeku Director at the Reproductive Health Unit of the Ministry of Health made this pronouncement on behalf of the government at the 41st Conference of the Of Gynaecology and Obstetrics Of Nigeria (SOGON) taking place in the ancient city of Benin, Nigeria from the 14th to 17th November 2007.

She told participants that the present maternal mortality situation were basically due to the three delays namely: seeking care; accessing care and reaching healthcare. This was besides the fact that most pregnant women are anaemic and thus cannot tolerate blood loss, the lack of blood bank in most health facilities, and the socio-cultural and religious bias against blood transfusion. These trends according to her led to the study on the dug ‘Misoprostol’, a 3rd line uterotonic which is stable at room temperature, has a long shelf life and can be used at primary level were 70% of Nigerians dwell.

Dr Odeku said that the federal Ministry has since reviewed the clinical guideline and is recommending that ‘Misoprostol’ be introduced at health facility levels where it ca be administered by skilled birth attendants including doctors, nurses and midwives, and can also be administered by trained health care providers who are MLSS trained Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWS). She stressed that every effort would be made to ensure that the drug is readily available in the country and at generic dosages at affordable prices.

However, her presentation maintained that though ‘Misoprostol’ should be used for the prevention of PPH, uterotonics should be used in the following order Oxytocin, Erometrin and Misoprostol. She concluded that the information memo will be presented at the National Council on Health later in the year while a National dissemination meeting by the Minister of health would convene in December 2007. Thereafter, the ministry would commence a State training and sensitisation on the use of ‘Misoprostol’ in the 36 state of Nigeria including the FCT. This would be to enlighten the personnel who might be administering ‘Misoprostol’ in future against mis-use.
Dr Odeku urged medical personnel to embark on data gathering as an form of operation research to assess side effects, compare the cadre of the drug administrators and other relevant information as this would him in the formulation of the right policy on the drug use in Nigeria.

*Reported by Nnenna Ike

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