New policy brings hope to mothers in Mali

The Prevention of Postpartum Hemorrhage Initiative (POPPHI), a five-year US Agency for International Development project led by PATH, worked to reduce the leading cause of maternal death: excessive bleeding after childbirth. The problem has largely been solved in the industrialized world, but it remains a critical issue in poor countries, where as many as one in eight women die during childbirth.

POPPHI used multiple approaches—training health care providers, strengthening policies, scaling up proven interventions—to prevent postpartum hemorrhage in 40 countries. In Mali, for example, the team worked to expand access to oxytocin, a lifesaving drug that was available only by prescription. The team worked with the government to show that auxiliary midwives, who support most births in rural areas, could safely administer the drug in the Uniject® prefilled injection device. After reviewing POPPHI’s research, Mali changed its policy and authorized the midwives to use oxytocin. The policy change brought a proven intervention to a new cadre of health workers and, in turn, to the thousands of expecting mothers they serve.

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Photo: PATH/Monique Berlier.

Joyful mother holding child.

POPPHI worked to prevent postpartum hemorrhage in 40 countries.