Global coalition of experts working to end deaths related to pre-eclampsia and eclampsia
During two meetings held at the inaugural Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference (18–21 October, 2015), the first major event since the United Nations approved 17 Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015, more than 50 people joined to hear about the scope and goals of the Population Council’s newly launched Ending Eclampsia project.
Ending Eclampsia aims to increase access to effective, low-cost interventions for pregnant women and their infants in Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Pakistan. The project also includes a global coalition to end pre-eclampsia and eclampsia (PE/E), comprised of experts focusing on this health issue that causes so many deaths worldwide.
Ending Eclampsia also shared preliminary research findings from a landscape analysis conducted in seven states in Nigeria.
Preliminary findings from Nigeria show major barriers to health services for women experiencing PE/E-related complications, especially high blood pressure, convulsions, severe headaches, and blurred vision. Belief in myths about these symptoms, their cause, and their remedies ranged from religious experiences to witchcraft, herbs, and incisions. A distrust of health providers, long distance to facilities, and long wait times at clinics also contribute to delays in accessing care for women experiencing symptoms of PE/E, as well as the accessibility of MgSO4 for treatment.
Other results showed insufficient knowledge and skills among health providers on how to manage hypertension in pregnancy, or to treat eclampsia by administering the correct loading dose of MgSO4 and calcium gluconate if toxicity occurs. This is largely due to a lack of national guidelines for health providers at lower-level health facilities to detect, treat, and manage pre-eclampsia and eclampsia patients or administer these drugs.