WHO Announces Cure for Excessive Bleeding After Childbirth


Martins Ifijeh

The World Health Organisation (WHO), in collaboration with Ferring and MSD for Mothers, has found a cure for Post-Partum Haemorrhage (PPH), otherwise known as excessive bleeding after childbirth, which is the commonest cause of maternal death in developing countries like Nigeria. In a clinical study conducted by the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research including the UNDP-UNFPA-UNICEF-WHO-World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP), using Ferring’s heat-stable carbetocin, and funded by MSD for Mothers, it was discovered that carbetocin was as effective as oxytocin in the prevention of excessive bleeding following vaginal birth.

According to WHO, the ground-breaking innovation, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) recently, was conducted on nearly 30,000 women in Nigeria and nine other low and middle income countries.

“Heat-stable carbetocin remains effective at high temperatures, an answer to the limitation of oxytocin which must be stored and transported at 2 – 8°C,” WHO said.

Studies in Nigeria and other developing countries have revealed degradation and loss of efficacy in oxytocin ampoules, which could be due to inadequate storage and distribution conditions, hence the need for the heat-stable carbetocin product.

According to the Chief Medical Officer, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Prof. Klaus Dugi, the data show that heat-stable carbetocin maintains effectiveness for at least three years at 30°C and six months at 40°C.

Dugi said, “This has the potential to save thousands of women in Nigeria and other developing countries where 99 per cent of PPH-related deaths occur, and where the refrigeration of medicines can be difficult to achieve and maintain.

“The WHO publication concludes that the study should inform care in countries where cold-chain transport and storage of medicines is difficult to achieve. We will now work with the WHO and MSD for Mothers to make heat- stable carbetocin available in countries where it is needed most, protecting women and families around the world.”

He said the Switzerland based pharmaceutical giant will now seek registrations and then manufacture affordable heat-stable carbetocin, adding that Ferrings will ensure it is available in low and middle income countries that have a high burden of maternal mortality.