A Framework for Reducing Maternal Mortality

Isabella Grandic
20 min readAug 22, 2020

Co-created with Ruhani Walia, Navya Riju and Shifra Khan. Special thanks to Stephanie Porfiris, Christina Wang and all of our brilliant advisors for helping make this possible.

I’m working with my other 17-year-old friends to scale misoprostol (a life-saving drug) in Jigawa, Nigeria. We’re developing this system alongside the Jigawa state Ministry of Health, an on-ground team and an advisory network of doctors.

This project aims to reduce the number of deaths due to postpartum hemorrhaging (PPH). PPH is the #1 cause of maternal mortality globally. Maternal mortality kills 300,000+ women every year, and we can save almost ⅓ of them by stopping postpartum hemorrhaging.

While we’re only a few months in, this has been one of the most challenging and expansive experiences I’ve ever had.

This article is part 1 of 2, which goes over the basics of the intervention’s methodology. Part 2 goes over some of our learnings and reflections.

Distribution of Misoprostol to Reduce Postpartum Hemorrhaging in Jigawa, Nigeria

(Don’t worry, the title isn’t as scary or complicated as it sounds.)

Women are dying when they don’t need to. In many countries, there are protocols and health systems in place to give birth safely. But we need global health for humankind, not just for Canada, Finland, Australia, etc.

We have the knowledge, medical protocols and tools to deliver babies safely without injuring the mothers. It just needs to be spread everywhere, specifically to the developing world, where 99% of maternal mortality happens.

Postpartum hemorrhaging (PPH) is the #1 cause of maternal mortality.

PPH is severe bleeding after birth — and it accounts for ~35% maternal deaths worldwide. Some sources say it’s as high as 50% or 60% in some areas.

I won’t go more in-depth into the problem here; you can read more in my blog post on maternal mortality here.

Misoprostol is a uterotonic drug that induces uterine contractions: preventing 85–90% of PPH cases.

Uterotonic = drugs that induce contractions.

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Isabella Grandic

Aspiring healthcare infrastructure designer, technologist and scientist.