Best of 2020 Family and Maternal Health

Using Non-pneumatic Anti-Shock Garments to Save Lives


By: Freda Walai Sui, Papua New Guinea

The research skills I learnt from QUT enhanced our program monitoring and evaluation by adapting the World Health Organisation-structured questionnaire into local context. Based on the locations where child births take place, assessments were done on variables that can improve the survival of birthing mothers and newborn babies.

Access to birth facilities in Papua New Guinea has a lot of geographical barriers. As such, air access is usually employed, but with a lot of difficulties as well. Baseline assessment revealed mothers dying of heavy bleeding immediately after delivery. Findings from this assessment led us to an evidence-based planning to procure Non-pneumatic Anti-Shock Garments (NASG), a low-technology first-aid device used to treat hypovolemic shock. Now our Maternal and Newborn Care Program has this equipment in stock.

We launched the use of NASG and conducted a one-day training in three nearby sub-nationals including Port Moresby. Each sub-national referral hospital as well as remote health facilities offering birth services were given one equipment after the launch.

There are many life-saving stories to tell using this garment, but for now I will focus on a mother who delivered in a very remote health facility and developed blood loss complications after delivery.  With the application of NASG, she was able to survive, despite not reaching the nearest hospital for blood transfusion.

We are yet to reach all birth facilities in the country, which is proving to be a real challenge. But we will not stop until all areas are supported. We will also use this impact story to rally support so that more post-partum haemorrhage garments are made available in all birth facilities in Papua New Guinea.


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