The power of social media powers much of what we do at Maternova. Our Twitter presence with our three handles, @maternova, @Mtnva_Research and @maternovaCBT, has allowed us to connect with midwives, global health experts, social activists and dedicated bloggers from around the world. The same network linked us to work in Benin, Mali and Vietnam on our favorite DIY method.
Recently our team has dedicated itself (among a number of other things) to spreading information about the condom balloon tamponade (CBT) method developed by Dr. Akhter and her team. A low-cost method for low-resource settings, the intrauterine condom balloon tamponade uses a condom, a catheter, a suture and IV fluids (and sometimes just sterile water) to create a balloon which can help prevent and stop post-partum hemorrhage, a condition where the mother bleeds excessively after birth, and is a leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide.
In our search for research that supports the effectiveness of this method, we were able to find an ongoing study called "Evaluation of intrauterine balloon tamponade efficacy with Condom catheter in the severe PostPartum Hemorrhage management in Benin and Mali" through one of our Twitter connections. We should mention that having @maternovaCBT run by a French and Flemish speaker helped uncover new leads.
This study is conducted by the Institute of Research for Development (IRD) in Paris, France. We immediately contacted Dr. Alexandre Dumont from the IRD, who is the research director of this study. He replied with more information about his work and attached their recent publication, A Randomized Controlled Trial to Test the Effectiveness of Intrauterine Balloon Tamponade with Condom Catheter in Severe Postpartum Hemorrhage Management: A Feasibility Study in Benin. As the first randomized control trial (RCT) related to the condom balloon tamponade method, this pilot study is extremely impressive due to its focus and ethical considerations. It particularly looks at the difference in treatment with misoprostol or with the condom balloon only. It reports that “the condom catheter is generally well accepted by clinicians. Its assembly was considered fast and easy. No side effects were reported.” We look forward to keeping track of this study and its completion in 2015.
Meanwhile the Maternova team is working on a booklet that features a step-by-step illustrated guide to the CBT method, along with testimonials and references. This booklet features evidence from OBGYNs and midwives around the world. Stay tuned for more news!