Back in 2017 I was commissioned to produce a sculpture to help to highlight the problem of women dying in childbirth and the results of the WOMAN Trial (World Maternal Antifibrinolytic Trial). The International research study WOMAN shows that a low-cost, drug called tranexamic acid could save the lives of thousands of women a year if given quickly to new mothers who suffer deadly bleeding. Severe bleeding after childbirth, or post-partem haemorrhage, kills around 100,000 new mothers each year (or one woman approximately every 6 minutes).
The study was published in the Lancet in April, 2017. Haleema Shakur-Still, one of the joint authors of this study and who commissioned the sculpture, believes that many women who develop severe bleeding after childbirth are still unlikely to benefit from this new information anytime soon unless we can get the message spread more widely.
The sculpture, of a mother with her very new born baby, is designed to bring the scientific results of this research to life. I wanted to illustrate the happiness, joy and overwhelming love a mother feels the first time she holds her baby, the vulnerability of a new baby and why we must do all we can to make sure babies have their mother alive.
It is interesting how much of the work on this particular sculpture has been done by women (although it wasn’t engineered to be done that way) and the extent to which all those involved have identified with the significance of the sculpture because of the underlying study it was designed to promote. Having not had children myself I have been indebted to the women who have helped me and taught me so much.
The Wellcome and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation were co-funders of the study. Both the funders and the organisers of the study, the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine believe in the importance of combining the creativity of artists and scientists. It seems an amazing idea that art can be used to help save lives, I love sculpting and it is brilliant if what I love doing can be used to help others.
Moira Purver SWA
Haleema Shakur-Still, Associate Professor of Clinical Trials, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Project Director, WOMAN Trial
Six months after results from the WOMAN trial were published, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its guidelines to include the use of tranexamic acid for prevention of PPH. Our hopes for the WOMAN trial came to fruition, demonstrating the protective effect of tranexamic acid on postpartum haemorrhage (PPH), a devastating complication that kills roughly 100,000 women every year—or one woman approximately
WOMAN Sculpture Basis of Press Release last updated 16/2/2018
every six minutes. We found that tranexamic acid, when administered within three hours of delivery, reduced a woman’s risk of death due to bleeding by one-third.
Research doesn’t have an impact on people’s health unless the information reaches clinicians and policymakers who can implement the findings. As Professor Joy Lawn, Director of the MARCH Centre at LSHTM “It’s time that we take a stand to say that women shouldn’t be dying from something preventable, like bleeding.”
The WOMAN trial was a collaboration on an epic scale, involving 20,060 women from 193 hospitals in 21 countries and thousands of doctors, midwives and nurses.
Lancet published the study “WOMAN: reducing maternal deaths with tranexamic acid”. Published on 26th April 2017
To find out more on the study see https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=X8DJ2XX0Al0
Facebook page for SCULPTURE – Supporting the WOMAN Trial https://www.facebook.com/groups/159036404722095/
Foundry – Talos Art Foundry www.talosfoundry.co.uk based in Quarley Hampshire
Wooden plinths and engraving by Claire Whiles of Precision Engraving, Weymouth
Mould made by Lisa of Lisa Wilson Moulding Services
Main photograph(s) of completed sculpture by Dave Jackson Photography