A Nigerian Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Hadiza Galadanci, has shared her research innovations on the treatment of Postpartum Haemorrhage.
PPH is excessive bleeding and loss of blood after childbirth.
It means losing more than half a litre of blood within 24 hours of childbirth.
Galadanci, a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the College of Health Sciences, Bayero University Kano, shared her research innovations at the 2023 Goalkeepers event at the ongoing 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The innovations are a calibrated obstetric drape used in E-MOTIVE study to detect excessive blood loss and a 15 minutes IV iron infusion to treat severe anaemia in pregnant women.
These innovations aim to save two million lives by 2030, addressing maternal and child mortality issues worldwide.
Speaking at the Sustainable Development Goals Pavilion at UN headquarters in New York, United States of America, Galadanci told the audience that she could save more lives by being a medical researcher than being an obstetrician.
She said: “I could save one or two lives at a time as an obstetrician, while I could save 100,000 lives by becoming a medical researcher.
“So I decided to focus my research on areas that affect the lives of women such as PPH.
“PPH is the number one cause of maternal deaths, not just in Nigeria, but all over the world.
“Fourteen million women experience this every year.
“And approximately 70,000 die from it.
“In a study we call the E-MOTIVE, I discovered that half of the women who have PPH are never even diagnosed.
“That’s because health care workers are busy and struggle with how much blood loss is too much blood loss.”
According to Galadanci, a simple drape at the edge of the bed can see a fast and accurate measurement of collected blood, noting that in a busy labour ward, this can be the difference between life and death.
She added: “Our study also found out when PPH is identified, the standard treatment of uterus massage, oxytocic drugs, tranexamic acid, IV fluids and genital tract examination are often delivered one by one over several hours.
“We asked ourselves: Why don’t we bundle these interventions, administering all the five at once?
“And so we tried it and we decreased cases of severe bleeding by 60 percent.
“Often, we didn’t need anything complicated to save lives.
“Just drape and change the protocol.
“But the simple changes have huge benefits, lifesaving benefits, cuts to research without a doubt.
“Imagine a world where these treatments are available in every one room clinic, every labour ward and every hospital, how many mothers would be saved.
“That’s the work that is left for us to do.”
Galadanci, who is the first female Professor of Gynaecology in northern Nigeria, has received global recognition from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for her innovations in improving maternal and newborn mortality.
She said the high burden of maternal deaths in Nigeria challenged her to come up with the solution to help reduce the suffering of women and reduce newborn mortality.
She shared the experiences of her cousin and other women: saying: “I have watched life leave a woman’s body as she bleeds out while giving birth.
“I’ve seen women wishing for the death of their children to save them from the cycle of pain and poverty they had to endure themselves.
“These women are my neighbours, they’re my friends and even my family.”
According to the researcher, her first cousin, she loves dearly, is one such woman who on her fourth pregnancy had high blood pressure spike.
Moved by this case, Galadanci said they decided to induce her for normal labour, adding: “I then went about my business in the hospital, doing my rounds and caring for other patients.
“After a while, I walked into the labour ward to check on her.
“What I saw, never leaves me.
“Blood was flowing out of her like a tube.
“I put on my gloves and began to massage the uterus.
“Using all the drugs I had, I tried to stop the bleeding.
“But it wasn’t working.
“She was looking up at me, begging me to look after her babies after her death.
“At that moment, it was hard to think as a physician.
“At that moment, I was just her cousin.
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“We performed a hysterectomy and blood transfusion.
“We gave her six pints of blood.
“That’s almost the whole blood volume of a woman.
“And until the next morning, when she had every inhale and exhale, I knew she had made it.
“Not everyone is so lucky to have a family member who is an obstetrician.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about how unfair that was.”