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Dignity Health Targets Maternal Morbidity/Mortality


Research at St. Joseph’s aims to improve care in U.S. and Africa

Dignity Health is teaming up with a leading Nigerian doctor to combat high blood pressure in pregnant women, a major cause of illness and death in the United States and Nigeria.

A sudden rise in blood pressure, known as preeclampsia, affects up to 17 percent of pregnant Nigerian women, threatening both the unborn child and the mother.  In severe cases, the only cure is immediate induced delivery or C-section. In the U.S., maternal mortality has climbed since 1990, and the nation ranks among the worst of the world’s wealthiest nations in the number of women who die in pregnancy or childbirth.

Dr. Aduragbemi Banke-Thomas of Nigeria, hailed as a “Next Generation Leader” by the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University, is working with Dr. Michael Brady, an OB/GYN and Academic Vice Chair in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, on a research program to determine the effectiveness of Dignity Health’s Preeclampsia Bundle, a set of medical procedures designed to make pregnancies safer for women with high blood pressure disorders. The doctors will review data from  pregnant women treated before and after the hospital adopted the interventions.

“Dignity Health is happy to be working on this collaborative effort,” says Dr. Keith Frey, chief physician executive, at Dignity Health in Arizona.   “When I received the call from the McCain Institute, asking that we sponsor Dr. Banke-Thomas, I never hesitated and said absolutely yes!”

“This collaboration is a model of international medical cooperation that will benefit women in the U.S., Nigeria and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Dr. Banke-Thomas, who is also a research fellow at the Centre of Reproductive Health Research and Innovation, Lagos, Nigeria.  “The research will provide us with critical evidence that can be leveraged and adapted for use in formulating treatment protocols to improve quality of care for the several vulnerable women who experience high blood pressure in pregnancy.”

“The next step in excellent and accountable care is to see if the standardized protocols for high blood pressure/preeclampsia really are changing outcomes,” Dr. Brady said. “We hope this research will provide data on how we have made an impact and then we can determine treatments to make women safer during childbirth.”

The research project is expected to be completed in the fall.

 

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