SJA-UNICEF collaboration save lives

Collaboration between St John’s Ambulance, UNICEF PNG and the National Department of Health with the issuing of the Non-pneumatic anti-shock garments (NASG) are expected to save more mothers from dying while giving birth.

Under this collaboration, UNICEF donated five NASG to help ambulance officers provide a combination of basic life support care along with the lifesaving drug, oxytocin to mothers in maternal emergencies.

The NASG or Mama Kolos as it is commonly known in PNG, is a specially designed garment used to save women from bleeding to death as a result of birth complications.

UNICEF in PNG reported that out of 200 mothers who were assisted with a NASG all have been saved except for one, who had other underlying complications.

“When we have mothers in labour who have serious bleeding they can often die by the time we arrive or during the trip back to the hospital so these devices helped us over the years and we’ve deployed them a number of times, since we got them, to control the bleeding and control the situation as best we can.” Said Matt Cannon – CEO St John Ambulance, PNG

The NASG is a low tech first aid external pressure suit used by front line emergency health workers to help stabilize women suffering from severe bleeding and shock. When applied, the pressure from the garment pushes the blood flow back up to the brain that prevents the patient from losing consciousness.

“Here in Papua New Guinea one of the largest problems, in fact the largest user of ambulances are women of fertile age; so women aging from 14-30 accounts for the highest proportion of our ambulance utilization,” Cannon added.

St John Ambulance covers NCD and Central and even Gulf with emergency services. On this note Cannon thanked UNICEF PNG for collaborating with them in equipping the ambulance staff with knowledge and basic equipment to save lives, such as the NASG.

UNICEF PNG country representative, David McLoughlin said for every woman who dies in childbirth, there are 30 other women who suffer a disability because of pregnancy or childbirth related complications

Frieda Kana