Vietnam restricts labor simulator use as maternal deaths rise

TN News

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The Health Ministry has ordered strict controls over the administration of a delivery simulating medicine, saying that it carries risks of uterine rupture and fetal weakening.

Luu Thi Hong, deputy chief of the Department of Maternal and Child Healthcare under the health ministry, said the order aims to prevent obstetric complications and drug abuse that could happen during labor induction, the Vietnam News Agency reported Tuesday.

According to a letter the department sent to health authorities at local provinces and cities, misoprostol, a synthetic fatty acid marketed as Cytotec, is not allowed to be used on women with full-term pregnancy and fetal normality.

In other cases, all necessary observations on patients and their pregnancies must be conducted before the administration of Cytotec, which is taken orally or vaginally, Hong said.

Close, strict observation is also needed after patients take the medicine, she stressed.

The department's order comes in the wake of  numerous delivery deaths that have been widely reported in the media.

Vietnam recorded 88 cases in which women died or died with their children during delivery during the first half of this year, according to the department. Some 68 percent of these deaths were caused by obstetric complications, while the rest are believed to have happened because the women had diseases earlier, it says.

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The maternal mortality rate in Vietnam was 75 per 100,000 live births, more than five times the rate in developed countries, according to statistics released at a conference held by the HCMC Health Department in May. In 2008 the maternal mortality rate was just 54 per 100,000 live births.

Between 1980 and 2008, the maternal mortality rate was continuously decreasing. It is only in the past four years that the trend has reversed.

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