Vancouver lights up for World Preeclampsia Day May 22 2018

From upper left clockwise: BC Place, Vancouver Olympic Cauldron at the Vancouver Convention Centre, Science World, North Vancouver City Hall and Vancouver City Hall

May 22 is World Preeclampsia Day, which aims to bring awareness to the relatively high prevalence and devastating impact of pre-eclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Approximately one in ten women who are pregnant for the first time develop pre-eclampsia and it is a leading cause of maternal and infant death, with approximately 46,000 maternal deaths and 2.5 million stillbirths, infant and child deaths every year worldwide. Pre-eclampsia has a highly disproportionate impact on low-to-middle income countries, where it accounts for an estimated 16% of all maternal deaths. The event in 2018 highlighted postpartum pre-eclampsia as well as the risk of future development of debilitating non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and renal impairment.

Last year’s inaugural event brought people all over the world together with an online social outreach of over 570,000 people and in events from Dublin, Ireland to Sydney, Australia to Ghana and Uganda and more. This year on May 22, 2018, PRE-EMPT joined with other global partners, including the Preeclampsia Foundation, Ending Eclampsia/USAID, the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy, and PRECISE,  to make it even bigger.

PRE-EMPT hosted an information booth at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute on World Preeclampsia Day. In addition to multimedia presentations and fact sheets on pre-eclampsia, PRE-EMPT team members engaged with over 50 people throughout the day with a Spin-The-Wheel Quiz game to prompt discussion of the disease. A variety of people were engaged, including paramedics, research staff, doctors, students, trainees, administrators and hospital visitors. A number of people expressed that they had not heard of pre-eclampsia at the beginning of our conversations or if they had heard of it, did not realize the high rates of maternal and infant mortality it was associated with.

PRE-EMPT team members (from left to right) Vivian Ukah, Larry Li, Domena Tu and Jeff Bone at the information table on World Preeclampsia Day

In addition to the information booth, Dr. Peter von Dadelszen, the PI of PRE-EMPT, gave two talks in Vancouver at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute about initiatives reduce pre-eclampsia in low-to-middle income countries. Hosted by Healthy Starts research theme at BCCHR, the first talk featured an in depth discussion of ‘The Community Level Interventions for Pre-eclampsia (CLIP) Trials’ on May 23. CLIP worked to reduce delays in failing to identify and rapidly manage pre-eclampsia and eclampsia at the community level in low-to-middle income countries. CLIP primarily worked in rural Mozambique, Pakistan and India through empowering community health workers with an mHealth tool, the PIERS on the Move app (POM), to identify and triage cases of pre-eclampsia. A following talk was given at the BC Women’s Hospital Interprofessional Grand Rounds the next day on May 24, which gave an overview of the three randomized controlled trials under the PRE-EMPT initiative. In addition to the CLIP Trials, the Calcium and Pre-eclampsia (CAP) study investigated low dose calcium supplementation initiated preconception to prevent pre-eclampsia and the Gynuity Oral Antihypertensives Trial compared the efficacy of oral labetol, nifedipine and methyldopa to manage severe hypertension in pregnant women.

During the week of World Preeclampsia Day from May 22-25, PRE-EMPT earned over 7, 500 impressions in Twitter while engaging in conversations about pre-eclampsia. Additionally, the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute showcased World Preeclampsia Day with an article on Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) networks and the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department website presented a feature on PRE-EMPT and an interview with the PRE-EMPT manager, Marianne Vidler. Marianne is the first research staff to be featured on the OBGYN website. Congratulations!

A number of Vancouver institutions also joined PRE-EMPT to shed light on pre-eclampsia. Iconic landmarks of Vancouver, BC Place, Vancouver City Hall, Vancouver Convention Centre and Science World lit up orange on World Preeclampsia Day this year. It generated a lot of excitement as the different organizations shared about pre-eclampsia on their social media channels.  

Check out our video!