• Unregulated Usage of Labour-Inducing Medication in a Region of Pakistan with Poor Drug Regulatory Control: Characteristics and Risk Patterns

      Shah, S; Van den Bergh, R; Prinsloo, J R; Rehman, G; Bibi, A; Shaeen, N; Auat, R; Daudi, S M; Njenga, J W; Khilji, T B-U-D; Maïkéré, J; De Plecker, E; Caluwaerts, S; Zachariah, R; Van Overloop, C (Oxford University Press, 2015-08-13)
      In developing countries such as Pakistan, poor training of mid-level cadres of health providers, combined with unregulated availability of labour-inducing medication can carry considerable risk for mother and child during labour. Here, we describe the exposure to labour-inducing medication and its possible risks in a vulnerable population in a conflict-affected region of Pakistan.
    • Which anthropometric indicators identify a pregnant woman as acutely malnourished and predict adverse birth outcomes in the humanitarian context?

      Ververs, M-T; Antierens, A; Sackl, A; Staderini, N; Captier, V (Public Library of Science, 2013)
      Currently there is no consensus on how to identify pregnant women as acutely malnourished and when to enroll them in nutritional programmes. Médecins Sans Frontières Switzerland undertook a literature review with the purpose of determining values of anthropometric indicators for acute malnutrition that are associated with adverse birth outcomes (such as low birth weight (LBW)), pre-term birth and intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR). A literature search in PUBMED was done covering 1 January 1995 to 12 September 2012 with the key terms maternal anthropometry and pregnancy. The review focused on the humanitarian context. Mid-upper-arm circumference (MUAC) was identified as the preferential indicator of choice because of its relatively strong association with LBW, narrow range of cut-off values, simplicity of measurement (important in humanitarian settings) and it does not require prior knowledge of gestational age. The MUAC values below which most adverse effects were identified were <22 and <23 cm. A conservative cut-off of <23 cm is recommended to include most pregnant women at risk of LBW for their infants in the African and Asian contexts.
    • Why Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Provides Safe Abortion Care and What That Involves

      Schulte-Hillen, C; Staderini, N; Saint-Sauveur, JF (BioMed Central, 2016-09-21)
      MSF responds to needs for the termination of pregnancy, including on request (TPR); it is part of the organization's work aimed at reducing maternal mortality and suffering; and preventing unsafe abortions in the countries where we work. Following the publication of "Why don't humanitarian organizations provide safe abortion care?" we offer an insight into MSF's experience over the past few years. The article looks at the legal concerns and proposes that the importance of addressing maternal mortality should replace them and the operational set-up and action organized in a way that mitigates risks. MSF took a policy decision on safe abortion care in 2004; the fact that care did not expand rapidly to relevant MSF projects came as a surprise, reflecting the important weight social norms around abortion have everywhere. The need to engage in an open dialogue with staff, relevant medical actors and at community level became more obvious. Finally the article looks some key lessons that have emerged for the organization as part of the effort to prevent ill health, maternal death and suffering caused by unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion.
    • Wishful thinking versus operational commitment: is the international guidance on priority sexual and reproductive health interventions in humanitarian settings becoming unrealistic?

      Tran, NT; Schulte-Hillen, C (BioMed Central, 2018-05-29)
      Twenty-one years ago, a global consortium of like-minded institutions designed the landmark Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) to guide national and international humanitarian first responders in preventing morbidity and mortality at the onset of chaos, destruction, and high insecurity caused by disasters or conflicts. Since then, the MISP has undergone limited change and has become an international reference in humanitarian response. This article discusses our perspectives regarding the 2018 changes to the MISP that have created division among humanitarian field practitioners, academics, advocates, and development agencies. With more than 50 pages, the new MISP chapter dilutes key guidance and messages on the most life-saving activities, leaving actors with excessive room for interpretation as to which priority activities need to be first implemented. Consequently, non-life-saving interventions may take precedence over essential ones. Insecurity, scarce human and financial resources, logistics constrains, and other limitations imposed by field reality at the onset of a crisis must be considered. We strongly recommend that an institution with the mandate, legitimacy, and technical expertise in the review of guidelines reexamines the 2018 edition of the MISP. We urge experienced first-line responders, national actors, and relevant agencies to join efforts to ensure that the MISP remains focused on a very limited set of essential activities and supplies that are pragmatic, field-oriented, and, most importantly, immediately life-saving for people in need.