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Efforts to prevent maternal mortality successful

Tamil Nadu's health care initiative of using NASG (Non Pneumatic Anti Shock Garments) also called life wraps, to reduce Post-Partum Haemorrhage (PPH) deaths – 22 per cent of deaths among mothers of newborns – has started showing some positive results.

The initiative aims to bring down MMR below 30 and was introduced in ten districts including Salem about two years ago.

According to health experts, after introduction of NASG, maternal mortality rate (MMR) in Salem district is showing a downward trend.

“Of 55,000 live births recorded last year in Salem district, 50 to 55 mothers had died and 15 to 20 of them due to PPH, which is preventable. In Salem district it is 0.85 per cent MMR per 1,000 live births during last year. We hope to have a reduced mortality of at least by one-third this year,” a senior doctor in Government Hospital says.

Department of Health and Family Welfare in association with Pathfinder International, which also provides technical support, has supplied 400 NASG vests to Government Medical College Hospitals, Government Hospitals, Upgraded PHCs and 108 Ambulance services in the State to ‘extend the crucial period of two hours to five hours, thus enabling the doctors to source blood for transfusion to the PPH-affected mothers without delay.'

Pathfinder conducted training for medics and paramedics under its State Coordinator Dr. Iyer, here recently.

“A PPH mom needs blood transfusion within two hours and these vests will help extend the timing so that those who are attending on an affected and dying mother can have more valuable time to procure blood and save the patient,” says Dr. J. Nirmalson, Principal, Health Manpower Development Institute, here.

The mothers will be wrapped up in these vests, made of neoprene, which prevent further bleeding in women with obstetric haemorrhage. When in shock, the brain, heart and lungs are deprived of oxygen because blood accumulates in the lower abdomen and legs.

The NASG reverses shock by returning blood to the heart, lungs and brain. This restores the pulse and blood pressure and it decreases bleeding from the parts of the body compressed under it.

Anyone after simple training can put the garment on a bleeding woman.

Once her bleeding is controlled, she can be safely transported to a referral hospital for emergency obstetrical care.

Its use began in 2002 and was introduced in Pakistan and later in Zambia and Zimbabwe. As part of a Continuum of Care for Post-Partum Hemorrhage, it has been introduced in 2008 in India and Nigeria.

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