Close to midnight on New Year’s Eve, Nurse Lilian Musalia was home watching TV with her husband when she received an alarming text from the local health center in Kenya.
Another nurse had reached out to Lilian because all the doctors were on strike and she didn’t know where else to turn. The message read, “I feel like screaming, I have a mother with PPH and I am all alone with the watchman”.
Instinctively Lilian rushed out of her house on foot to the health center that was 20 minutes away.
“The patient’s bed was soaked in blood and my colleague looked dazed by the unfolding events. I knew we had to act fast,” she recalls.
PPH (postpartum hemorrhage or uterine bleeding) accounts for 34% of preventable maternal deaths worldwide. If not treated, a healthy woman can rapidly die after developing PPH.
The patient, 17-year-old Melisa, had delivered a healthy baby 10 hours earlier but was still experiencing heavy bleeding even after receiving early PPH treatments.
Melisa recalls, “I had lost so much blood I even lost consciousness at some point. I heard the nurse say that I was bleeding too much and she didn’t know what to do. When the other nurse came in, she inserted a condom (uterine balloon) which stopped the bleeding.”
When Lilian arrived at the health center she examined the patient and confirmed that the usual procedures to stop the bleeding were not working.
“I knew UBT was the only solution. We had two UBTs in the drawer in the maternity room so I began assembling one.
“I inserted the balloon and miraculously the bleeding stopped after filling it with only one liter of water,” recounts Lilian.
After Melisa had stabilized she was transferred to the nearest hospital, received a transfusion, and the bleeding had completely stopped.
It was nearly fatal, but Melisa was one of the lucky ones.
Lilian and Melisa’s story is common around the world, but rarely ends as well. Health care workers in resource limited settings do not have access to solutions like the UBT.
But that’s about to change in a big way.
Our Exciting News – Plans for Worldwide Distribution
After 13 years of R&D, field testing, and FDA approval for UBT, we’re pleased to announce that Vayu is partnering with Pregna International to distribute ultra-low cost UBT devices around the globe (full press release).
Pregna is the # 1 provider of IUDs in the world supplying 140 countries. They share our vision and commitment to serve all women everywhere.
Mukul Taparia, Managing Director of Pregna says…
Pregna is proud to partner with Dr. Burke and Vayu in championing this great cause. Their invention has disrupted the status quo and has the potential of saving the lives of millions of new mothers! Pregna will bring its manufacturing, marketing & regulatory expertise to elevate its scalability and maximize its reach. Mothers are meant to bring life into this world. We cannot let our birth givers die due to lack of solutions or costs associated with it.
Vayu is giving our support and a royalty-free license to Pregna to manufacture and distribute the UBT globally.
Our organization has no financial interest and aims to do everything within our power to support women worldwide. In fact, the Vayu Global Health Foundation will use our own finances to maintain US FDA compliance and to support rapid scaling efforts.
Here’s just a few reactions from Vayu friends around the world…
This news made my day! I am so happy to hear that this dream is moving forward. I envision this as a new chapter in making justice for all women and provide equity of maternity health care in every corner of the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
-Susana Ku, PhD midwife from Peru and Canada and senior leader in the International Confederation of Midwives
This is the greatest news of the year. Congratulations to the team!
-Dr Solomon Orero, Kenyan OBGYN, senior consultant for Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Save the Children and UNICEF among others
This is great news for more women’s’ lives to be saved.
-Dr. Anne Kihara, President of the Kenya Society for OBGYN and the African Federation of OBGYN
Such exciting news!
-Elizabeth Bastías-Butler, MPH, InterAmerican Development Bank
Wow sir, What a great news
-Dr. Poonam Shivkumar, Chief of OBGYN at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Medical Sciences in India
Congratulations Dr Burke. This is great news!!
-Dr Preeti Priyadarshani, Assistant Professor Obstetrics and Gynecology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences
Fantastic. I am so delighted and impressed that the product could be available within 3 months. Thank you both for your efforts to save more lives.
-Dr. Harshad Sanghvi, former chair of OBGYN at the University of Nairobi and Chief Medical officer of JHPIEGO (at Johns Hopkins University)
Thanks for fantastic news, and for all of your consistent, longtime effort with this! It is a remarkable achievement by YOU. It is for the women of the world.
-Jerker Liljestrand, Former director of Maternal health at WHO and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Chair of the International Federation of OBGYN Working Group on PPH
Great news, a recognition of the wonderful work of your team … and a unique opportunity for the women of the world. Congratulations
-Dr. Maria Fernanda Escobar Vidarte, Chief of the largest obstetric intensive care unit in the world (Cali, Columbia) and Senior Member of the Safe Motherhood Task Force at the International Federation of OBGYN
Great achievement Thomas, Congratulations.
-Dr. Khadija Abdalla, Head of Maternal Health and Nutrition, Yemen Country office of UNICEF
This is great news Thomas.
-Jolly Beyeza, Chair of the International Federation of OBGYN Working Group on PPH
To learn more about UBT, you can watch this video.
Vayu Global Health Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports efforts to identify and build sustainable solutions to intractable health challenges.