June 3, 2011
The following is an excerpt from an interview with Dr. Suellen Miller conducted by Sophie Guerin of WIPA: Women in International Public Affairs. Link here to the complete interview.
Dr. Miller is currently conducting a Randomized Cluster Trial of the Lifewrap, an easy-to-use device that helps to stem postpartum hemorrhaging. A device like the Lifewrap is a perfect example of a public policy solution that recognizes the limits and conditions that contribute to the problem that the device is attempting to address.
Dr. Miller training providers in Lusaka, Zambia during her current trial of the Non-Pneumatic Anti-Shock Garment (Lifewrap) efficacy on
WIPA: What inspired you to you create Lifewraps?
Dr. Suellen Miller
I didn't create Lifewraps, I adapted an old, out moded piece of ambulance equipment to be something that would be useful to women dying of childbirth-related hemorrhage in developing countries. The reasons so many women die in poor countries are multi-layered and complex, but have a lot to do with lack of education, lack of power, lack of resources and infrastructure and lack of political will. Women die for a multitude of reasons including unskilled and uneducated birth attendants, an inability to recognize the signs of excessive bleeding, lack of decision making authority to move from home to the hospital, lack of access to vehicles/fuel to get to the hospital, far distances between impoverished regions and hospitals, etc. The Lifewrap buys time, helping women survive during the long delays these challenges present. I was inspired to do something to help poor women survive childbirth.
WIPA: What do you think makes Lifewraps so successful?
SM: Simplicity and efficacy. Lifewraps are so simple that anyone can learn how to save a dying/bleeding woman and they work. They can keep a woman alive for days until she can get to skilled care.
WIPA: In your work do you encounter many female health policymakers? Do you think that women policymakers bring a different perspective to international health policymaking?
SM: Yes, I do meet many female health policymakers. Individuals vary, but many women recognize the inequities other women experience in trying to obtain their basic human rights to a safe delivery. In any room full of women policymakers I often hear women say, about obstetric hemorrhage, oh, that happened to me, if I had been in a different setting, I would have died.
For The Price of Designer Jeans, A "Wetsuit" That Saves Lives – Forbes.com blog reports on Lifewrap