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A Race Against Time: Calls to Action from FIGO 2023

FIGO World Congress in Paris hosted WHO’s launch of a critical roadmap to tackle the leading cause of maternal death: postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). 

In light of the stagnating progress made towards reducing maternal mortality globally, many countries are not on track to hit targets set out in Sustainable Development Goal 3 to reduce maternal deaths by 2030.

To help address this, more than 8000 delegates from 116 countries convened at the world’s largest congress for gynecology and obstetrics (FIGO) to share best practices and scientific progress in the advancement of women’s reproductive health.

Here, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially launched their roadmap to combat postpartum hemorrhage between 2023 and 2030. The roadmap focuses on the role of research, advocacy, access to quality lifesaving treatments and better medical care. It is intended to accelerate progress towards reducing unnecessary maternal deaths and Laerdal is named as a committed partner.

Every woman, no matter where she lives, should have access to timely, high quality maternity care, with trained health workers, essential equipment and shelves stocked with appropriate and effective commodities – this is crucial for treating postpartum bleeding and reducing maternal deaths.

Dr Pascale Allotey, WHO Director for Sexual and Reproductive Health

The Conference Highlights

A delegation from Laerdal attended FIGO World Congress 2023 in Paris, showcasing solutions, convening meetings and hosting workshops including:

  • A collaborative event with Maternity Foundation, Pronto International and UNFPA, titled Barriers and Breakthroughs to Capacity Development in which the complementary nature of all organizations capacity building solutions was discussed, with an aim to find ways that they can be used together for greater impact. The importance of investing in the capacity of training facilitators was also recognized as a vital component for successful implementation.
  • A meeting of key donors including USAID, Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, UNITAID, MSD 4 Mothers, and Laerdal explored the financing of WHO’s PPH Roadmap and recognized the need for this donor group to continue to convene..
  • Jhpiego, Ethiopia Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, ASSIST International, Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, Haydom Lutheran Hospital, Stavanger University Hospital and Laerdal Global Health co-hosted a hands-on Simulation Lab on managing obstetric emergencies. MamaBirthie and MamaNatalie were used to demonstrate how simulation-based training can improve quality of care, teamwork and decision making. The session attracted numerous participants, and many of them had never engaged in using a simulator for cesarean section training before. A key takeaway message from participants at this event is the broader need for a structured and standardized training and mentorship approach to simulation-based training.
  • The International Expert Meeting on Vacuum Assisted Birth (VAB) highlighted the key issues of high rate of cesarean section and high maternal and newborn mortality globally and reflected on the need for trained providers who are capable of identifying which laboring women could benefit from vacuum assisted birth. The perceived risk of this procedure was noted as a barrier. Laerdal presented within this meeting, focusing on the innovations made as part of the Safe Vacuum project, which is currently in its research phase at Haydom Lutheran Hospital, Tanzania. In particular, Laerdal’s findings that the program has increased the use of VAB significantly at Haydom created interest from participants. Positive conversations were held with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Association of Gynecologists and Obstetricians about opportunities to scale up this project to other hospitals in the country.

To view more highlights from the conference, visit: