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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Two American men on a mission to save the lives of mothers worldwide

The Salt Creek International Women's Health Foundation (SCIWHF) was founded to support the development and clinical research of a special device for treating postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), the greatest cause of maternal mortality worldwide. 

The SCIWHF official logo (Photo: SCIWHF)


For  more than 15 years before SCIWHF began its work, the co-founders, Mike Jones and Dr.Fred Burbank, collaborated to develop medical devices for women's health in the United States. After some time, they realized that one of the devices they previously developed had great promise to make a remarkable difference for women who suffer from PPH in health care landscapes with limited resources.

The device, a set of stainless steel clamps, is reusable, low-tech, and affordable. In most high income countries, women have access to life-saving surgical procedures that can treat PPH. However, these procedures are complicated and require trained personnel, special equipment, and significant facility resources. In contrast, the stainless steel clamp set developed by Fred and Mike can achieve results similar to these surgical procedures, but in a way that is simple, minimally invasive, affordable, and significantly less-demanding of resources.                                           

The device is used by entering through the vagina to reach and close off two arteries that are very important during pregnancy and childbirth. These are the uterine arteries, the main source of blood flow involved in postpartum bleeding. If one can stop this blood flow just temporarily by applying the set of stainless steel clamps, then one can control postpartum bleeding and save a mother's life from PPH. 

The Salt Creek International Women's Health Foundation wants to ensure that this device reaches women in the world who need it most.

Editor's note: Megan Arnold, the SCIWHF Program Coordinator, submitted this article. Natalie Marshman, the  current SCIWHF Communications and Development intern, sent the first email.