Magnitude and Causes of Maternal Deaths at Health Facilities in Eritrea in 2007.

  • M Ghebrehiwet
  • M Sharan
  • K Rogo
  • O Gebreamlak
  • B Haile
  • M Gaim
  • Z Andemariam
  • S Gebreselasie
Keywords: Maternal mortality, obstetric complications, abortion, case fatality rate


Objective: To measure the level of maternal mortality in health facilities as well as the magnitude and proportion of obstetric complications in health facilities in Eritrea. Methods: The study was a cross-sectional survey of all hospitals and health centers in Eritrea and a random sample of around a third of health stations. Medical records of all patients who encountered obstetric complications in 2007 were reviewed. Findings: The main causes of obstetric complications among hospital admissions in 2007 were abortion complications (45.6%), obstructed/prolonged labor (18.4%), abnormal fetal presentation (10.3%) and preeclampsia/ eclampsia (7.7%). The number of maternal deaths at facilities was relatively small. Out of the 6,315 patients who were admitted for obstetric complications in 2007, 41 were classified as maternal deaths. The leading causes of maternal deaths included pre-eclampsia/ eclampsia in 22.0 percent of the cases, abortion complications in 19.5 percent of the cases and postpartum sepsis in 17.1 percent of the cases and post-partum hemorrhage in 14.6 percent of cases. The case-fatality rate for obstetric complications was low at 0.75 percent. The majority of maternal deaths (65 percent) occurred in the post-partum period, while 32 percent occurred during the ante-partum period, and 3 percent during intra-partum or during labor or delivery Conclusion: Over all it can be concluded that the Eritrean health system is performing well with the current demand for services. The issue of abortion requires special attention because it is the leading obstetric complication, which accounts for 46 percent of maternal complications and is responsible for one fifth of maternal deaths. Although the case fatality rate of all obstetric complications combined is not high (0.75 percent), the cause specific case fatality rates for the leading causes of maternal mortality was high Keywords: Maternal mortality, obstetric complications, abortion, case fatality rate

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eISSN: 1998-6017
print ISSN: 1998-6017