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Complications of childbirth and pregnancy are leading causes of death among women of reproductive age. Developing countries account for 99% of maternal deaths. The aim of this study was to explore levels, causes and risk factors associated with maternal mortality in rural Tanzania. Longitudinal data (2002-2006) from Rufiji HDSS was used where a total of 26 427 women aged 15-49 years were included in the study; 64 died and there were 15 548 live births. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to assess the risk factors associated with maternal deaths. MMR was 412 per 100 000 live births. The main causes of death were haemorrhage (28%), eclampsia (19%) and puerperal sepsis (8%). An increased risk of 154% for maternal death was found for women aged 30-39 versus 15-19 years (HR=2.54, 95% CI=1.001-6.445). Married women had a protective effect of 62% over unmarried ones (HR=0.38, 95% CI=0.176-0.839). (Afr J Reprod Health 2013; 17: 119-130).
Keywords: Maternal death, maternal mortality, risk factors and developing country