In a quiet homestead in Kosinyo village, Siaya County, Kenya, Lilian Achieng Omondi rocks her two-month old baby. Her first born, sits next to his mother as though to get a glimpse of the young one who is about to sleep. Their brother, plays outside the house. All three children are clearly oblivious of the challenges that their mother has undergone to give birth to them.
Achieng, 28, has experienced postpartum hemorrhage since giving birth to her first born son. Postpartum hemorrhage, contributes to 287,000 deaths in Kenya, 34% of overall maternal deaths.
During her first birth, Achieng experienced minimal complications and bleeding thereafter. Five years later, she would undergo the same experience for her second birth. But this time, she remembers, the bleeding got worse. Achieng sought help at a nearby health facility, and after being injected with oxytocin, the bleeding stopped.
However, the birth of her third child was the most complicated. “I experienced heavy bleeding and the injection did not help this time. It started with very painful labor that lasted about five hours.” Achieng took herself to a health facility at 06:00 and delivered at 12:30. “I saw my baby, breastfed her, and immediately I became unconscious,” she recalls.
Achieng was rushed to another health center – Akala Health Centre in Siaya County – where she regained consciousness.
“When I woke up, I noticed something strange in my body. The doctor was removing some water from my body using a syringe. It was not painful. At this time, I had gained consciences and the bleeding had stopped,” she explains. It was the ESM-Uterine Balloon Tamponade (UBT) kit that was used to stop Achieng’s excessive bleeding.
The ESM-UBT kit is locally assembled by the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET). It consists of a pair of condoms, a rubber catheter, a string, two data cards, a referral card and a 60ml syringe. KMET provides heath facilities with the ESM-UBT kits, a three hours simulation based training, pocket checklists, delivery room wall charts, and reference manuals. Field data highlights the high success rate of the ESM-UBT: persistent bleeding after birth can be successfully controlled in 98% of cases.
After KMET introduced the ESM-UBT kit to the Akala Health Center, Chris Opati, the Clinical Officer at the center, noted the ESM-UBT kit had saved the lives of two women, including Achieng. Opati remains hopeful.