Trends and Causes of Maternal Mortality at the Wa Regional Hospital, Ghana: 2005-2010
Maternal mortality has been a health concern for many developing countries. The study undertook a comprehensive maternal mortality audit at the Wa Regional Hospital in order to discover the trends and causes of maternal mortality at the hospital, and suggest ways of improving the situation. The study involved a retrospective examination of maternal mortality cases from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2010. It included all pregnancy related deaths at the hospital within this period. A gynecologist and midwives served as key informants who provided primary data to augment the secondary data collected. Results showed a total of 73 maternal deaths occurred out of 14027 live births, giving a maternal mortality ratio of 520.4 per 100,000 live births. The yearly maternal mortality ratios saw an undulating scenario. On the specific causes of death, direct causes accounted for 60%, while indirect causes were 40%. Medically, haemorrhage (19%), Eclampsia (15%), Sepsis (11%), abortion related difficulties (8%) and obstructed labour (7%) were the main causes of mortality. Indirect causes include malaria, aneamia, sickle cell, HIV-Aids and TB. The trends of maternal mortality in the Upper West Regional Hospital over the period have seen a decline, but the decline is not significant enough. The number of women still dying from trying to bring life is unacceptably high. Key recommendations include the need to: improve emergency obstetric care by ensuring that there are enough personnel, logistics and facilities to attend to women who are in labour, especially 12 hours prior to delivery and after delivery.
Keywords: Maternal Mortality, Maternal Mortality Ratio, Trends, Wa Regional Hospital, Ghana