Somaliland has a rich oral tradition where poetry is the preferred way of sharing stories and knowledge. To teach traditional birth attendants how to use misoprostol tablets to prevent the leading killer of mothers—life-threatening bleeding in childbirth—we worked with a revered Somali poet to craft a poem that these women could recite and memorize.
To address the high burden of maternal deaths due to excessive bleeding after childbirth, or postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), in this small, recently war-ravaged self-declared republic, VSI collaborated with our partner PSI and the Ministry of Health and Labor to bring misoprostol tablets to mothers. In February 2009, the Ministry took the landmark step of registering misoprostol for prevention and treatment of PPH.
Somaliland is the first country where VSI and PSI have developed a country-specific brand of misoprostol that is locally and culturally appropriate: Ummal Gargaar translates as “help for a new mother who has just given birth.”
To ensure that laboring Somali mothers continue to have access to this life-saving medicine, we collaborated with PSI and local partners at the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital, the Red Crescent Society and the Hargeisa Health and Science Institute to educate doctors, nurses and community midwives in its proper use.
PSI is continuing these efforts to increase access to misoprostol in Somaliland. For more information, visit PSI's website.