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United Nations Every Woman Every Child teams tackle uterotonics and mag sulfate

There is so much momentum on maternal and newborn health commodities. Today we pause to take a look at some of the most important work initiated by the United Nations initiative, Every Woman, Every Child (EWEC). Three important drugs make all the difference in the management of the major killers of women in childbirth. Quality oxytocin and misoprostol address postpartum hemorrhage, while magnesium sulfate addresses eclampsia. All jargon aside, EWEC technical teams are working to simplify the formulations, identify quality manufacturers and improve access to these three essential drugs.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) convene this work. The [Maternal Health Technical Reference Team (MHTRT)](http://www.rhsupplies.org/fileadmin/user_upload/CoLSC/Meeting_Documents/Dakar_2-5_July_2013/second_part/Global_conveners_brief_MgS04_Final.pdf) works to increase the appropriate use of quality oxytocin, misoprostol and magnesium sulfate, as well as to improve access and use by reducing key barriers in EWEC countries. The MHTRT’s objectives are the following:

•Improve forecasting and quantification;
•Achieve an adequate supply of quality commodities available where needed;
•Improve and adopt practices and policies for safe use; and
•Advance innovations such as simplified packaging and presentation, as well as heat-stable
formulations and easier to use modalities.

The group is working a formulation of magnesium sulfate: a standard presentation of magnesium sulfate, 5g in 10 mL (50% solution) with simplified packaging. They are also working on the cold chain for oxytocin. A [UNFPA background paper explains the issues around manufacturing, prequalification, quality and supply chain for maternal health drugs] (http://www.unfpa.org/webdav/site/global/shared/images/publications/2012/Key%20Data%20and%20Findings%20Maternal%20Health%20Medicines-FINAL.pdf).

Specific teams are taking the lead on recommendations and these are as follows:

Management Sciences for Health leads Tools-Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services

The Concept Foundation covers the Mapping of manufacturers-Concept Foundation;

Accelovate and MCHIP/Jhpiego cover the task of increasing use of magnesium sulfate-

USAID is working on oxytocin in the cold chain-USAID

PATH is covering improved uptake and use of WHO guidelines and recommendations

Venture Strategies Innovation covers Misoprostol on Essential Medicines Lists (EML)-

John Snow covers Commodity Security

As many of our end users are seeking trusted sources for quality medical products (including drugs) we can attest to the fact that this work will make a difference for women (and for health workers). We look forward to following the work of all of these groups-- and to a point when we can offer a direct link to prequalified trusted manufacturers of these essential drugs.

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