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More Than Blood: Confronting Maternal Mortality & E-Motive

Every six minutes, a woman dies during childbirth – a stark and distressing reality explored in the powerful documentary ‘More Than Blood.’ Produced by Rani Khanna, a filmmaker at the University of Birmingham, this compelling film confronts the leading cause of maternal mortality in low-income countries: postpartum haemorrhage (PPH). Through a combination of animation, real-life footage, and personal narratives, the documentary serves as a poignant call to action, drawing attention to the urgency of addressing PPH and the broader issue of maternal mortality on a global scale.

At the heart of ‘More Than Blood’ is the groundbreaking E-Motive trial led by Professor Arri Coomarasamy and his dedicated team from the University of Birmingham, supported by WHO and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This initiative spans four African countries – Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa – with a mission to reduce severe bleeding after childbirth and save mothers’ lives. E-Motive is a trial project involving 80 hospitals, introducing actionable guidelines, such as a bundle of care for mothers during childbirth. The acronym stands for the guidelines that include uterine massage to help the uterus contract (M), oxytocin drugs (O), tranexamix acid (T) to stop bleeding, intravenous fluids (IV), and examination of the patient to determine the course of bleeding and escalate the patient to the right setting of care (E). A comprehensive intervention strategy is represented by the acronym MOTIVE. This approach equips healthcare providers with the tools and strategies necessary for timely and effective intervention in cases of postpartum haemorrhage. ‘More Than Blood’ not only highlights the technical aspects of E-Motive but also emphasizes the critical significance of early detection and intervention in preventing maternal deaths.

Angela Gorman, CEO of LFAM: There is a stark contrast between maternal care in developed countries and the challenges faced in low-income regions. In the developed world, there is always a supply of blood available for safe transfusion, whereas in developing countries, the lack of laboratory facilities, refrigeration, and testing equipment often prevents the availability of this vital resource. In the most extreme cases, mothers can lose their circulating volume of blood and die in 10 minutes. This is what happened to my paternal grandmother in April 1915 here in the UK, and tragically, it is still occurring in Africa in 2023. We need a collective commitment to creating a safer environment for mothers worldwide. The ‘More Than Blood’ film raises the needed awareness about the life-saving impact of very simple tools that can save lives.

You can learn more about how LFAM contributes to saving mothers in Africa and explore the details of the E-Motive trial on the website. Together, we can create a world where every six minutes no longer marks the loss of a mother during childbirth but instead signifies progress toward a safer and more equitable maternal healthcare landscape.


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