Non-pneumatic Anti-shock Garment (NASG)
Post-partum hemorrhage (PPH) is the leading direct cause of maternal deaths in low-resource settings. NASG is a fit-for-purpose device that can save women’s lives through reducing blood loss and stabilizing the women until treatment is available.
Post-partum hemorrhage (PPH) – or severe bleeding after childbirth – is the largest direct cause of maternal mortality worldwide, responsible for more than a quarter of the 300,000 estimated deaths each year.
These women are dying from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, with 94 per cent occurring in low- and middle-income countries, in areas where the nearest health facility with comprehensive obstetric care may be hours away.
Many of these deaths could be prevented with timely and effective maternal health care management and equipment.
The Non-pneumatic Anti-Shock Garment (NASG) is a low-cost first-aid device that limits persistent PPH. It’s a compression suit originally designed with technology from the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). At NASA, anti-gravity uniforms were developed to keep astronauts from blacking out during extreme acceleration by squeezing the arms and legs to push blood towards the head. This same technology was used to develop NASG where external pressure is applied to a woman’s lower body to drive blood upward.
The NASG reduces blood flow to the uterus and treats hypovolemic shock. It can keep a woman with PPH alive for up to 48 hours. Without it, she may bleed out within 30 minutes. This buys critical time to transfer a patient to healthcare and provide treatment.
It is also lightweight, washable and can be reused up to 144 times.
A large evidence base indicates that NASG is effective in reducing maternal mortality. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends it as a temporary measure until appropriate care is available (2012). NASG is included in the WHO, UNICEF, and United Nation’s Population Fund (UNFPA) interagency list of medical devices for essential interventions for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (2015).
Although there are some countries that have successfully scaled NASG, UNICEF estimates that the global demand is much higher, given that five per cent of all women giving birth suffer from PPH. This is why UNICEF has added it to its portfolio of innovation projects – to use its know-how capacity in scaling proven technologies to ensure a fit-for-purpose and value-for-money product is available and accessible worldwide.
die each year during pregnancy or childbirth, with over 25 per cent of these deaths from post-partum hemorrhage.
are introducing NASG through UNICEF, with the potential to save thousands of mothers’ lives.
is the average price to save a mother’s life with NASG.
The NASG has been used by UNICEF, UNFPA, NGOs and governments, saving thousands of mothers’ lives. It costs as little as US $0.50c to save a a life with the NASG.
UNICEF has added the NASG to its Supply Catalogue and is providing technical guidance and support for its procurement, distribution, and implementation. With UNICEF’s expertise in scaling proven technologies, NASG can reach more mothers, ensuring future PHH deaths are prevented.
“I saw many women bleeding heavily after delivery [in my village]. Most of them recovered, but I saw five women who died because it was too far for them to walk to the health centre for help. I lost consciousness when I lost a lot of blood after delivering my second twin. I could have died. I believe that’s why I’m alive, because of this garment.”
* Based on UNICEF data on NASG pricing ($68) and average number of times the product can be washed and reused (144).