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WHO essential medicines for reproductive health
  1. Roopan Gill,
  2. Bela Ganatra,
  3. Fernando Althabe
  1. Department of Sexual & Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Roopan Gill; roopan.gill{at}

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Since 1977, the WHO’s Model List of Essential Medicines has been a rigorous evidence-based document providing a list of essential and life-saving medicines. Specifically, over the course of the last few decades, a large body of scientific evidence and programmatic use has accumulated for existing medicines for reproductive health and the development of new life-saving therapies. The 21st edition of the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines issued in June 2019, added heat stable carbetocin and tranexamic acid (TXA) to the core list of medicines for reproductive health and moved mifepristone and misoprostol from the complementary to the core list. All of these medicines are important for preventing the leading causes of maternal morbidity and mortality.1

Uterotonics and TXA are pivotal for management of postpartum haemorrhage (PPH), which continues to be the leading cause of maternal deaths in most low-income countries.2 Decades of evidence have demonstrated that PPH can be prevented by the prophylactic administration of uterotonics during the third stage of labour. Typically, in settings where multiple …

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