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Perinatal mortality trends in Kwekwe District in Midlands Province, Zimbabwe, 2017 - 2020: A Secondary Data Analysis

Nyashadzashe Cosmas Makova
Mary Muchekeza
Notion Tafara Gombe
Addmore Chadambuka
Tsitsi Patience Juru
Mufuta Tshimanga


Introduction: Perinatal mortality comprises of the total number of stillbirths and deaths within the first seven days of life. Kwekwe District reported a 59.92% increase in perinatal deaths from 247 in 2017 to 395 in 2020. This increase has been shadowing the joy of bearing children for many parents. We described the perinatal death trends and determined reasons for high perinatal deaths in Kwekwe Distric.

Methods: We conducted a descriptive cross-sectional study using secondary data in Kwekwe District. Key informants were interviewed using guides. We analysed 844 records of perinatal deaths from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2020. Epi-info was used to generate frequencies, proportions, medians, graphs and p-values.

Results: The median age of the mothers was 24 years (Q1= 20; Q3=31). Perinatal mortality rate (PMR) increased from 28.4 per 1000 births to 35.6 per 1000 births (p=0.038). Most perinatal deaths (75.3%) occurred at Kwekwe General Hospital. Hypertension contributed 59/333 (17.7%) to stillbirths. Birth asphyxia accounted for 210/511 (41.1%) of early neonatal deaths (ENND). First delay contributed 553/844 (62.6%) of the perinatal deaths. Economic challenges resulting in brain drain and lack of essential equipment were mentioned as reasons for the increase in perinatal deaths.

Conclusion: The increase in perinatal deaths may have resulted from a decrease in the number of emergency and critical services being offered in the district. The harsh economic environment and inadequate resources contributed to the high perinatal deaths. We recommended provision of adequate equipment to health facilities and provision of non-financial benefits to health workers

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eISSN: 2664-2824