Nigerian Obstetrics and Gynecology Professor, Hadiza Galadanci, has presented her research innovations in the treatment of Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) – excessive bleeding after childbirth which aims to save two million lives by 2030, addressing global maternal and child mortality issues.
TheTimes learns that Galadanci is the first female Professor of Gynecology in northern Nigeria and has earned international recognition from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for her groundbreaking contributions to enhancing maternal and newborn health and reducing mortality.
Speaking at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the UN headquarters in New York, she emphasized her role as a medical researcher in saving lives and shared her innovations at the 2023 Goalkeepers event during the ongoing 78th session of the UN General Assembly.
She explained that her innovations include a calibrated obstetric drape used in the E-MOTIVE study to detect excessive blood loss and a 15-minute IV iron infusion for severe anaemia treatment in pregnant women.
According to her,
- “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”.
What she said
Speaking further, she said,
- “PPH is the number one cause of maternal deaths, not just in Nigeria, but all over the world. 14 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.’’
She explained that the innovation involves a straightforward drape placed at the bedside, providing a quick and precise measurement of collected blood. In a busy labour ward, this innovation can be the critical factor between life and death.
- “Our study also found out that 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 five at once and so we tried it and we decreased cases of severe bleeding by 60 per cent.
- “Often, we didn’t need anything complicated to save lives; just drape and change of 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 labor ward, and every hospital, how many mothers would be saved? That’s the work that is left for us to do.”
Motivated by personal experiences
Galadanci emphasized that the significant maternal mortality rates in Nigeria motivated her to find solutions to alleviate the plight of women and decrease neonatal mortality.
She recounted personal experiences, including her cousin’s and those of other women, where she witnessed the heartbreaking loss of lives due to excessive bleeding during childbirth.
- “I’ve seen women, wishing 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.
The researcher recounted a situation involving her first cousin, who was in her fourth pregnancy and experiencing elevated blood pressure. Concerned about her cousin’s condition, they chose to induce her for a natural childbirth.
While attending to her regular duties at the hospital, the labour proceeded normally.
- “After a while and walked into the labour ward to check on. What I saw, never lived me, blood was flowing out of her like a tube, I put on my gloves and began massaging in the uterus.
- “Using all the drugs I had 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. 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, what she had every inhale and exhale until 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,’’ Galadanchi said.