33 year old Juliet Ddungu on the 13th of March 2013 went to Mulago hospital eager to give birth.
Nine months pregnant already, Ddungu decided to rush to hospital after seeing drops of blood the previous night.
However, upon reaching the labour ward at 3:00pm, the nurses told her, her cervix had not opened wide enough for the baby to come out.
She inquired what could be done for her to give birth and the nurses said she had to wait and if the day ended without her cervix opening up, they would have to put her on drip to quicken the contractions.
In her eagerness, confusion and anxiety, Ddungu asked what else the nurses could do and she was told they could give her a tablet whose name they would not disclose.
What mothers like Ddundu do not know is that Mistroprosol is a drug that is used by doctors to reduce and protect elderly patients against peptic ulcers. The drug resembles some natural substances originally thought to be from the prostate known as prostaglandins.
In some circumstances Mistroprosol is mixed with pain killers such as Diclofenac, Indocid and Ibrufen to protect the stomach from non-steroid and inflammatory drugs. These pain killers are known to cause peptic ulcers by affecting the protective layer of the stomach against acid production.
Dr. Vincent Karuhanga of Friends Poly Clinic explains that it’s used to ripen the cervix given the circumstance the woman in labour maybe in and ensuring the baby is safe.
Unfortunately he adds that in Uganda, the drug that costs between 5000 to 10,000 shillings is used for carrying out abortions.
Depending on when it is used, it can cause headaches, nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea as Dr. Karuhanga explains.
Health experts warn pregnant women with peptic ulcers, high blood pressure and asthma not to use the drug.