|Zigama Mama logo, designed by Carlan|
I've always been interested in the idea of public health. People have likened the idea of medicine in the developing world (or elsewhere) to pulling drowning people of of a raging river. Public health is going upstream to figure out why so many people are falling into the river in the first place. Of course, if all your time is spent saving the drowning, it's pretty hard to find the time to pull yourself away to take a walk upstream. Important and necessary, but challenging to prioritize none the less.
After six years here, Eric and I decided to take that walk. Ever since the first months here at Kibuye, I have been noticing a huge amount of uterine rupture (UR) cases. They are very rare in the US, but we have about 20 cases per year here (Side note for the medical folks: I looked at cases of UR from 2015-2017 and found 55, which is over 1% of our deliveries. !!?? Only about 50% of there are on uteri with previous scar. So we have a huge amount of UR on unscarred uteri, which is pretty rare in the medical literature. Harder to prevent for sure...). A big risk factor for UR is labor after a previous Cesarean section. Everyone in the health community "knows" this, but given broken systems and difficulty in education, many women who are at risk for UR continue to labor at home, in their villages, way after their due dates, instead of receiving a scheduled C-section or coming in to the hospital to deliver under surveillance. Some show up with three previous C-sections, in labor, and don't even know their due date. If only we could find a way to get these ladies to come in sooner, to decide if a C-section is the best decision, and to choose a date for that C-section, maybe we could prevent some of these cases of UR. At the very least, we can decrease complication rates of infection, hemorrhage, fetal distress, etc, which are all higher in women with emergent vs scheduled C-sections.
Enter, Zigama Mama. This is technically Kirundi for "protect the mother." Our Burundian friends say that's not exactly the way they would say it...but we decided to use the phrase anyway given its catchy nature! :) Our hospital is the referral site for 17 health centers in our district. Any woman needing a C/S or increased surveillance would get sent from them to us, which also explains why our C/S rate is about 30% of our deliveries each year (instead of the national average of 6%). The idea of Zigama Mama was to look at all of our C/S data from the health centers for one year, then do a training session for the nurses at the health centers. The intervention is simple: every woman with a previous C/S, even one, gets identified by the nurses, written into a register, and then she gets a "coupon" for a free ultrasound at Kibuye. While ultrasounds are recommended in pregnancy, they are cash pay ($5) and most women can't afford them. So, the free ultrasound is the incentive to come to Kibuye, where I can confirm their due date and decide if a C/S is indicated or not. If yes, I schedule it. If no, I encourage the women to come to the hospital (not the health center) for monitoring as soon as labor starts. That's it. We'll look over the next year to see if our rates of emergent C/S and UR decrease.
|Training on Postpartum Hemorrhage, using resources from Laerdal Global Health|
|We divided up into groups to practice techniques on a uterine model for treating PPH|
|Dr Ladislas, one of the Burundian docs on my service, also did a great job leading one of the groups|
|The Zigama Mama ultrasound coupon|