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June 11, 2010

Ethiopia takes important policy step of registering misoprostol for postpartum bleeding

(ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA) On June 3, 2010, the Drug Administration and Control Authority of Ethiopia approved the registration of misoprostol tablets for use in managing life-threatening bleeding after childbirth, or postpartum hemorrhage, one of the leading causes of maternal death in Ethiopia. The registration came just months after VSI organized a meeting with the Federal Ministry of Health and DKT-Ethiopia to disseminate the successful results of projects introducing misoprostol for this life-saving use, including those implemented by the Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Ethiopian Nurse Midwives Assocation, the Tigray Regional Health Bureau and Jhpiego. 

Building upon initial research conducted by the Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability at UC Berkeley and Venture Strategies for Health and Development testing community-level use of misoprostol for prevention of postpartum hemorrhage in 2005, VSI’s partners, the Federal Ministry of Health, DKT and other nongovernmental organizations, have joined in efforts to increase protection against postpartum hemorrhage using misoprostol, especially among the 94% of women in Ethiopia who deliver at home. The registration of the simple-to-use drug paves the way for greater availability of the tablets among expectant mothers and health care providers, including those working closest to women in communities throughout this mountainous country.

While Ethiopia took the important policy step of including misoprostol in its national essential medicines list in 2006, it is the 12th country in Africa and the 16th globally to register misoprostol for use in prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage, enabling legal importation, distribution and marketing of the drug. To see the other countries where misoprostol is registered, see our global misoprostol registration map.

To learn more about VSI's program in Ethiopia, click here.