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A hospital based cross-sectional qualitative study was conducted at Kintampo Municipal Hospital in Northern Ghana, to identify obstetric emergencies and barriers to emergency care seeking; examine the perspective of midwives regarding their role in maternity care and management of obstetric emergencies, and explore women’s knowledge and response to obstetric emergencies. Study subjects comprised of 2 emergency obstetric cases, 29 antenatal focus group discussants and 5 midwives at the maternity unit. Data was collected from 23rd March to 9th April, 2012 using in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and record reviews. The most common obstetric emergencies were hemorrhage, eclampsia and anemia. Potential obstetric complications were poorly understood by antenatal women and known barriers limited access to emergency obstetric care. Service challenges included insufficient staffing and well as inadequate equipment and physical space in the maternity ward. Local community efforts can address communication and service access gaps. Government intervention is required to address service provision gaps for improved maternity care in Kintampo (Afr J Reprod Health 2013; 17: 129-140).
Keywords: Obstetric complications, maternal mortality, rural, Ghana