By scaling the award-winning, high-impact, ultra-low-cost Mass General uterine balloon tamponade innovation, death and disability among our world’s most vulnerable mothers are being sharply reduced.

Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) is the most common cause of maternal morbidity and mortality on earth, most of which occurs in resource limited settings. More than 30 percent of all maternal deaths worldwide are attributable to PPH, accounting for approximately 130,000 deaths and 2.6 million disabled women annually.

At the Mass General Global Health Innovation Laboratory, we have developed a highly effective Postpartum Hemorrhage Package with Uterine Balloon Tamponade (ESM-UBT). The ultra-low-cost (less than $5) ESM-UBT device consists of a condom tied to a Foley catheter, which is inflated with clean water through a syringe and one-way valve. Uterine balloon tamponade is standard of care in the United States, but manufactured medical balloons used in US hospitals are single-use and can cost over $400 apiece. The ESM-UBT device provides an ultra-affordable alternative.

In 2010 and 2011, our team trained over 870 frontline health workers in South Sudan; most of the providers were illiterate and had little formal health training. Since then Mass General has supported implementation and research activities on the ESM-UBT package in India, South Sudan, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia, Peru, Honduras, Uganda and Nepal. To date, over 670 devices have been placed and nineteen manuscripts from multiple operational research studies have demonstrated that the ESM-UBT package is highly effective in saving women’s lives.

To date, our partners in this work include the Center for Maternal Health Innovations, Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET), the African Institute for Health Transformation (AIHT) at Sagam Community Hospital, PATH, One Heart Worldwide, CEFOREP, World Vision, Pathfinder, UNICEF, the Kenya Obstetrics and Gynecology Society, several Country and County Ministries of Health, Inter-American Development Bank, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Peruvian Association of Midwifery and Nursing, Jhpiego, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston Consulting Group, Villgro, Muhimbili National Hospital, Saving Lives at Birth partners, ELMA, CICF, Every Mother Counts, HDIF, IZUMI, Elrha Humanitarian Innovation Fund, and the Ujenzi Charitable Trust.

For additional information, watch the following videos: