The Novelty of Inhalable Medications: Interest, Use, and Impact of Inhalant Medications in Low-Resource Settings

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Emily R MacGuire
Katelin Moran
Bonnie J Hepler
Doris J Rouse


Introduction: Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) claims more than 100,000 maternal lives annually worldwide, most of them in low-resource settings. To address morbidity and mortality from PPH, the global health community is exploring novel drug formulations, such as inhalable medicine, to improve treatment availability and use, especially in community settings with limited access to skilled birth attendants. A major limitation in the ability to prevent or treat PPH in resource-limited settings is that the most effective medications for prevention and treatment are injectables, which require administration by skilled birth attendants.

Methodology: We conducted formative research, including online surveys and in-person interviews, with a range of providers across a variety of health-care settings in Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, and Nigeria, to better understand the standard of care for mothers and newborns in low-resource settings, including care practices related to PPH.

Results: It is estimated that up to 40% of PPH deaths could be averted if an inhalable prevention and treatment were available. However, survey and interview respondents noted a desire for more intravenous and oral medicinal formulations over inhalable formulations.

Discussion/Conclusion: Lack of knowledge and use of inhalable medicines among these health workers illuminates key challenges to introducing novel formulations in low-resource settings.

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