The Non-Pneumatic Anti-Shock Garment (NASG) is an intervention promoted by World Health Organisation (WHO) to reduce the number of deaths from postpartum hemorrhage or uncontrolled bleeding after child birth.
According to UNICEF, postpartum hemorrhage constitutes 47 percent of maternal deaths associated with childbirth in PNG. PNG has one of the highest maternal mortality rate in the world with one in 30 women dying during pregnancy.
WHO is working closely with UNICEF, with funding from the Australian government, to ensure all health facilities have these garments through the Saving Lives-Spreading Smiles program.
The NASG or “Mama Hot Kolos” is a first aid device that applies pressure to the lower body and abdomen, reducing internal bleeding and forces blood to the essential organs – heart, lungs and brain.
Understanding that St John ambulance officers are the first responders to many of the maternal emergencies, UNICEF PNG’s Maternal and Child Health Specialist, Dr Ghanashyam Sethy and Midwife Paula Kongua, who are leading the program in PNG, saw a great need to equip ambulance officers on how to use this life saving technique.
Senior Emergency Medical Technician Benjamin Ume knows too well the challenges they face when attending to a maternal case either in NCD or Central Province.
He watched the demonstration eagerly as Paula explained the steps in applying the Mama Hot Kolos.
“Attending to maternal cases is very challenging. We are happy when we successfully help the mother and baby to the hospital alive, but when it turns out bad, it’s very tough even for us ambulance officers. I often ask myself if I have ever done enough to save the mother.
“But I’m excited to learn this new technique and grateful to UNICEF for the donation. We will definitely make use of it and save a mother’s life.”
After the short presentation and demonstration, Dr Sethy on behalf of UNICEF presented five Non-Pneumatic Anti-Shock Garment (NASG) to St John to be placed in five of its ambulance.
Dr Sethy said the kind of work St John does is in sync with what WHO and UNICEF is promoting.
“St John as the National Ambulance Service is in a better position to teach this technique as it branches out to other provinces in PNG. St John Ambulance officers will not only save lives but help educate.”
UNICEF will also supply St John with Bebi Kol Kilok. A hand band designed to read a newborn baby’s temperate in the first 28 days of life.
Ambulance officers can attach the hand band to newborns, especially premature babies they help deliver or transport to hospitals.
St John is the leading public ambulance service provider. Since 2018 (when it started collecting data), it has attended to over 1500 obstetric emergencies in PNG.