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January 13, 2011

Tanzania fights maternal mortality, registers misoprostol for postabortion care services

(DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA) In 2007, Tanzania became the second country in Africa to register misoprostol for use in prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), or excessive bleeding after childbirth, the leading killer of mothers worldwide. Three and a half years later, on January 13, 2011, the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority took another step towards improving the lives of women with the approval of an amendment to this registration to include treatment of incomplete abortion and miscarriage.

Globally, complications of abortion are the second leading cause of maternal death, attributable to an estimated 21.6 million unsafe abortions worldwide annually (data from 2008; WHO, 2010). This regulatory approval in Tanzania paves the way for expanded access to misoprostol for life-saving postabortion treatment. After establishing programs to educate health care providers and communities on misoprostol for PPH, VSI and a coalition of government and nongovernmental partners are committed to increasing access to these easy-to-use tablets to address this other important cause of preventable maternal mortality.

Tanzania is the fifth country in the world to register the generic tablets for use in postabortion care. With support from VSI, Mozambique, Kenya, Malawi and Zambia have also taken this important policy step in efforts to reduce maternal deaths related to complications of abortion.

To learn more about VSI’s work in Tanzania, click here.