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In the interest of ongoing professional development, Dr Tshimane Tshepuwane, in the department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (DOG), along with SINAPI Biomedical, extended a joint invitation to Professor Gerhard Theron, to deliver a lecture on the use of the Ellavi Uterine Balloon Tamponade (Ellavi UBT).

A new device, Ellavi UBT became commercially available in the 3rd quarter of 2019 and it is being used to prevent child birth bleeding complications which results in the deaths of mothers. It is based on the glove balloon used in South Africa since 2008. Prof Gerhard Theron also described the Ellavi UBT in the Postpartum Haemorrhage Monograph published in 2010 by the National Committee for Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths. This inventor, from the University of Stellenbosch, is a leading light in obstetrics and gynaecology, with many awards and many articles in peer review journals, to his name.

Watched by a captive audience of representatives of professional midwifery nurses, post-natal nurses, registrars, consultants, fourth year to final year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) students, Theron meticulously demonstrated how to operate the Ellavi UBT.

Thereafter he gave a select group of consultants, registrars and professional midwives an opportunity to put into practice what they had learned in order to enable them to sharpen their newly acquired clinical skills.

Impressed with the Ellavi UBT and the ease with which the select group operated the device, Professor Sam Monokoane, the head of the DOG at SMU, expressed his wish to phase it in, at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, where students fulfil their clinical obligations.

On state tender the SOS Bakri costs R4800 per unit whilst the Ellavi UBT is R150 per unit for public hospitals. It is not on state tender, presently. The Ellavi UBT is affordable for use in resource poor settings.

Already, all hospitals in the three rural regions of the Western Cape Province, and half of the metropolitan areas of Cape Town served by Tygerberg Hospital as a referral hospital, are using Ellavi UBTs since the 1st quarter of 2019. Though no data is available regarding lives saved with Ellavi UBT.

About 90 papers published in peer reviewed scientific journals do report a success rate of 87% of the Ellavi UTB if used for the correct indications. A decline in death rates due to child birth bleeding complications following Caesarean births is to be expected if Ellavi UBT is to be used in all birthing facilities in South Africa.

By Maditsi Matlala