Known for its hilly terrain, Rwanda is an expansive and lush country. But its landscape poses a challenge for rural women who are isolated and often without access to essential medical services when pregnancy and childbirth become life-threatening. When getting to a clinic in an emergency can mean hours of traveling and countless hills, women needlessly die from preventable medical conditions.
VSI is working in partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health, Rwanda Biomedical Center and nongovernmental organizations to increase access to and awareness of the essential medicine, misoprostol, as a key maternal health solution. Life-saving misoprostol tablets can be used to treat the leading causes of maternal death in Rwanda - excessive bleeding after childbirth and complications of abortion, brought on by miscarriage or unsafe abortion.
In four rural districts of Rwanda, VSI supported the Ministry of Health to introduce misoprostol as a component of postabortion care (PAC) and train health care providers to care for women suffering from abortion complications. Read the results of this project here. In two of the four districts, VSI is also supporting the Ministry of Health's efforts to raise awareness of misoprostol as a safe option for prevention of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) at the community level.
VSI and our partners are improving women's health in Rwanda by:
- Providing technical assistance to the Pharmacy Task Force of the Ministry of Health in the registration of a quality misoprostol product for obstetric use.
- Incorporating misoprostol for maternal health into government policies through the development of protocols that educate health care providers on the provision of life-saving medical care. Developed collaboratively by VSI and the Ministry of Health, Rwanda's first Postabortion Care Protocol includes misoprostol and manual vacuum aspiration as treatment options for incomplete abortion.
- Training doctors, nurses and midwives on the use of misoprostol for PPH and PAC, as well as on manual vacuum aspiration for PAC.
- Supporting the Ministry of Health with the implementation of community-level distribution of misoprostol for prevention of PPH, accompanied by information, education and communication (IEC) materials in Kinyarwanda.