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Keywords:

  • community intervention;
  • global health;
  • misoprostol;
  • postpartum hemorrhage

Introduction

In Ethiopia, postpartum hemorrhage is a leading cause of maternal death. The Maternal Health in Ethiopia Partnership (MaNHEP) project developed a community-based model of maternal and newborn health focusing on birth and early postpartum care. Implemented in the Amhara and Oromiya regions, the model included misoprostol to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. This article describes regional trends in women's use of misoprostol; their awareness, receipt, and use of misoprostol at project's endline; and factors associated with its use.

Methods

The authors assessed trends in use of misoprostol using monthly data from MaNHEP's quality improvement database; and awareness, receipt, use, and correct use of misoprostol using data from MaNHEP's endline survey of 1019 randomly sampled women who gave birth during the year prior to the survey.

Results

Misoprostol use increased rapidly and was relatively stable over 20 months, but regional differences were stark. At endline, significantly more women in Oromiya were aware of misoprostol compared with women who resided in Amhara (94% vs 59%); significantly more had received misoprostol (80% vs 35%); significantly more had received it during pregnancy (93% vs 48%); and significantly more had received it through varied sources. Most women who received misoprostol used it (> 95%) irrespective of age, parity, or education. Factors associated with use were Oromiya residence (odds ratio [OR] 9.48; 95% confidence interval [CI], 6.78–13.24), attending 2 or more Community Maternal and Newborn Health (CMNH) family meetings (OR 2.62; 95% CI, 1.89–3.63), receiving antenatal care (OR 1.67; 95% CI, 1.08–2.58) and being attended at birth by a skilled provider or trained health extension worker, community health development agent, or traditional birth attendant versus an untrained caregiver or no one. Correct use was associated with having attended 2 or more CMNH family meetings (OR 2.02; 95% CI, 1.35–3.03).

Discussion

Multiple distribution channels increase women's access to misoprostol. Most women who have access to misoprostol use it. Early distribution to pregnant women who are educated to use misoprostol appears to be safe and unrelated to choice of birthplace.