Becoming a Mother Shouldn’t Put Your Life at Risk: How Market Shaping Can Reduce Global Maternal Deaths

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

By Cammie Lee, Aileen Palmer and Thayer Rosenberg

This Mother’s Day, as we honor the women who raised us, we should also take a moment to reflect on a shocking fact: approximately 800 women die every day from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Since 1990, maternal mortality has declined by 45 percent around the world. However, it is also noteworthy that, at the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) era just 5 months ago, the goal of reducing maternal mortality by 75 percent had seen the least progress.

Globally, the two leading causes of maternal mortality are post-partum hemorrhage (PPH), excessive blood loss following the birth of a baby, and pre-eclampsia/eclampsia (PE/E), a complication marked by high blood pressure and protein in the urine; together, they comprise 40 percent of all maternal deaths. Three drugs can help prevent these deaths: oxytocin, misoprostol and magnesium sulfate. Oxytocin and misoprostol are both used to prevent and treat PPH, while magnesium sulfate is the most effective agent for treating seizures associated with PE/E. However, complex market barriers limit access to these life-saving drugs in low- and middle-income countries.


In order to reduce maternal deaths, the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) commissioned Results for Development Institute’s (R4D) market dynamics team to scope market-based activities and identify key gaps and opportunities where market shaping interventions could help strengthen the availability of high quality, affordable oxytocin, misoprostol and magnesium sulfate. This market analysis was conducted at the global level and in three focus geographies — Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Bangladesh.

Source: Results for Development (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
reproductive health