Assessing the operational feasibility and acceptability of an inhalable formulation of oxytocin for improving community-based prevention of postpartum haemorrhage in Myanmar: A qualitative inquiry

Kyu Kyu Than, Victoria Oliver, Yasmin Mohamed, Thazin La, Pete Lambert, Michelle McIntosh, Stanley Luchters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Objective: This study assessed the potential operational feasibility and acceptability of a heat-stable, inhaled oxytocin (IOT) product for community-based prevention of postpartum haemorrhage in Myanmar. 

Methods: A qualitative inquiry was conducted between June 2015 and February 2016 through focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. Research was conducted in South Dagon township (urban setting) and in Ngape and Thanlyin townships (rural settings) in Myanmar. Eleven focus group discussions and 16 in-depth interviews were conducted with mothers, healthcare providers and other key informants. All audio recordings were transcribed verbatim in Myanmar language and were translated into English. Thematic content analysis was done using NVivo software. 

Results: Future introduction of an IOT product for community-based services was found to be acceptable among mothers and healthcare providers and would be feasible for use by lower cadres of healthcare providers, even in remote settings. Responses from healthcare providers and community members highlighted that midwives and volunteer auxiliary midwives would be key advocates for promoting community acceptance of the product. Healthcare providers perceived the ease of use and lack of dependence on cold storage as the main enablers for IOT compared with the current gold standard oxytocin injection. A single-use disposable device with clear pictorial instructions and a price that would be affordable by the poorest communities was suggested. Appropriate training was also said to be essential for the future induction of the product into community settings. 

Conclusion: In Myanmar, where home births are common, access to cold storage and skilled personnel who are able to deliver injectable oxytocin is limited. Among community members and healthcare providers, IOT was perceived to be an acceptable and feasible intervention for use by lower cadres of healthcare workers, and thus may be an alternative solution for the prevention of postpartum haemorrhage in community-based settings in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere022140
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • auxiliary midwives
  • community-based care
  • inhaled oxytocin
  • myanmar
  • postpartum haemorrhage
  • task-shifting

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