Design Portfolio


At the start of the 21st century, the United Nations released the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) – eight benchmarks the world was to meet by 2015. MDG 5 addressed improving maternal health by reducing the worldwide maternal mortality ratio by three quarters between 1990 and 2015, as well as achieving universal access to reproductive health care. As of 2015, the maternal mortality ratio has fallen by 45%, far less than the original goal. Low and middle income countries in particular struggle with achieving the MDGs due to lack of access to antenatal care and skilled birth attendants. In Ghana, the maternal mortality ratio is 380 per 100 000 live births, whereas in the United States the ratio is only 28 in 100 000 live births. The leading pregnancy-related cause of maternal mortality worldwide is postpartum hemorrhage, which is responsible for 25% of maternal deaths.

Despite commercially available products for treating postpartum hemorrhage, there are limited medications and technologies for preventing it from occurring altogether. Current methods include administration of uterotonic drugs – which are not effective for all women – and manual uterine massage, which requires a skilled birth attendant to perform. Given the low ratio of skilled birth attendants to patients in low resource settings, there is a need for an affordable and appropriate medical device to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. After spending 8 weeks at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana, we designed and prototyped a device for massaging the uterus after delivery to promote uterine contraction. Engineering analysis confirmed the amount of pressure the device would need to apply in order to stimulate contractions, and the device was tested to ascertain it applied sufficient pressure. Further work must be conducted to validate various design components and finalize the design of the device.

Project Team

  • Aliya Jawad Material Sciences
  • Anna Buzolits ME
  • Peter Annor BME - Ghanaian counterpart
  • Joshua Dortey BME - Ghanaian counterpart


  • Kathleen Sienko Biomedical Engineering PhD