A hotline that gives women practical information about sexual and reproductive health in general and the use of a medicine called misoprostol to prevent heavy bleeding of women after giving birth and for inducing safe miscarriage at home, will be launched on Saturday the 25th June. Misoprostol is registered as an essential medicine on the list of the World Health Organization and registered in Pakistan under the brand names Arthrotec, Cytotec, Cytopan, and ST Mom®.

Where: press conference at Hotel Ambassador, 7 Davis Road, Lahore, Pakistan
When: 13:00 hrs, Saturday, 26th June, 2010.

The launch is being carried out by the coalition of Pakistani Organization who support women’s rights  – Aware Girls from Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa, Peace Foundation from Sindh and Wake Up Call International from Lahore, The hotline is supported by Asia Safe Abortion Partnership, Women on Waves and Women on Web.

Press inquiries:

0315-947 33 66 (Sindh)
0307-494 08 08  (Punjab)
0315-917 04 09 (Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa)
+31-6-52052561 (Women on Waves)

Women needing information in Pakistan/ hotline numbers:

0307 – 494 07 07 – (Urdu, Punjabi)
0315 – 917 04 08 – (Urdu, Pastho)
0315 – 947 33 99 – (Urdu, Sindhi)


Further information:

Pakistan has one of the highest rates of maternal deaths in Asia. Each
year 30 000 women die due to pregnancy related reasons. Nearly 90% of
women deliver at home in the absence of skilled birth attendants. Only
1 in 20 women reaches the emergency obstetric care. Heavy bleeding
after giving birth (PPH, postpartum hemorrhage) is the main cause of
maternal deaths. 80% of maternal deaths happen during home birth.
The abortion rate in Pakistan is 14 in every 100 live births,
approximately 890.000 are performed each year.

An estimated 11-15% of maternal mortality in Pakistan is caused by
unsafe abortions. The taboos around abortion limit access of women to
health care services resulting in unsafe abortions, which take place in
unhygienic conditions and involve dangerous methods.  As a result an
estimated 197.000 women are hospitalized because of complications from
unsafe abortions.

More than half of all maternal mortality caused by post partum
hemorrhage and unsafe abortion can be prevented if women themselves
have information and access to a medicine called misoprostol.
Misoprostol has been on the list of essential medicines of the WHO
since 2005. Misoprostol is cheap, widely available, heat resistant, and
can be kept for years.

Misoprostol can easily be used by women themselves without supervision
of health professionals for prevention of postpartum hemorrhage.
Immediately after giving birth women should put 3 tablets of 200 mcg
misoprostol under their tongue (after making sure there is not another
baby inside the womb) to reduce the risk of PPH by 60%. Women can also
safely and effectively use misoprostol at home by themselves to induce
a miscarriage (3 doses of 4 tablets of 200 mcg under the tongue every 3
hours). This is very safe and 85-90% effective if taken during the
first 9 weeks of pregnancy. It is far safer than the unsafe surgical or
traditional methods that women will use when desperately trying to end
an unwanted pregnancy and has the same health impact as a spontaneous
miscarriage.  Usually a miscarriage is handled by women themselves
without additional medical supervision. Women who do need further
medical attention because of an incomplete abortion can easily be
treated by any doctor. Follow-up treatment for miscarriage and even
post abortion care is legal everywhere. Making information about the
most effective regimens of misoprostol for prevention of Post partum
hemorrhage and for inducing miscarriage easily available to women
themselves can save women’s lives.

This life saving information is protected by article 19 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to
freedom of opinion and expression; this right , includes freedom to
hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart
information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

For more information:

Asia Safe Abortion Partnership: http://www.asap-asia.org/
Aware girls: http://www.awaregirls.webs.com
Women on Waves: http://www.womenonwaves.org
Alan Guttmacher Institute: http://www.guttmacher.org/
International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics – statement of
Prevention &Treatment of PPH: http://www.figo.org/projects/prevent
World Health Organization: http://www.who.int
Gynuity: http://www.gynuity.org

Women, who need to access to safe medical abortions, please go to
http://www.womenonweb.org

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