With a family member and traditional birth attendant by her side, Nalini* delivered a healthy baby boy on the concrete floor of her cramped home in Jaldhaka, Nilphamari District. Exhausted by a long labor, she swallowed three tiny misoprostol tablets immediately after the birth of her baby. In her case, the medicine is critical. Nalini, like many women in Bangladesh is severely anemic; even a normal amount of bleeding after delivery is cause for concern - even life-threatening. Nalini is one of over 53,000 women in our Bangladesh program who received misoprostol tablets in a clean delivery kit to prevent postpartum hemorrhage at a home birth. Women received these essential supplies from trained birth attendants during routine prenatal care.
Bangladesh is a small, but densely populated country in South Asia where every year an estimated 12,000 mothers lose their lives unnecessarily in pregnancy and childbirth - the vast majority, bleeding to death after childbirth. VSI worked with our partners at ICDDR,B and Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service to change these statistics. The results from this project are currently available here.
At the close of our program in 2011 Bangladesh achieved the following milestones:
- Trained the largest concentration of birth attendants to dispense and administer misoprostol for the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage; almost 600 birth attendants across six districts were trained.
- Sucessfully integrated misoprostol into clean delivery kits for a safer birth for mother and baby; over 100,000 women educated on the use of misoprostol for prevention of postpartum hemorrhage.
- Ensured government commitment after developing policies to ensure that women have access to misoprostol now and in the future; a significant first step was the successful registration of misoprostol in 2008.
*Name changed to respect privacy
By the Numbers
Estimated Total Population
Lifetime Risk of Maternal Death
1 woman in 110
Maternal Mortality Ratio
340 per 100,000 live-births
Total Fertility Rate
Births Attended by Skilled Health Provider
Unmet Need for Family Planning
Source: PRB, 2011 and WHO, 2010
Registered Misoprostol Product(s): G-Misoprostol®; Cytomis®, Isovent®