Community perception of the causes of maternal mortality among the Annang of Nigeria's South-East coast
AbstractContext: Nigeria still has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world despite several intervention programmes aimed at its reduction. In Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria, maternal mortality has been found to be highest among the Annang speaking people of the state.
Objective: The aim of this study was to ascertain the perception of the causes of maternal mortality among the Annang speaking people of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
Method: Focus group discussions were carried out in 2 local government areas of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria between 1st February 2002 and 30th April 2002.
Results: Majority of the participants (60%) were between 26 and 35 years. Most of the participants felt hospitals generally connote sickness and were places reserved for only sick people. The most common causes of maternal death highlighted by the participants were spiritual attack from enemies and punishment by the Gods for infidelity. Suggestions made by the participants to reduce maternal death included, education of women on the need to be faithful to their husbands, acceptance of Christianity by all women and total surrender to God during pregnancy.
Conclusion: There must be intensive grassroots enlightenment and health education in our communities on the causes and prevention of maternal mortality. The advantages of antenatal care and hospital delivery should be included as part of the health education curriculum in our primary and secondary schools. There is need for provision of accessible comprehensive health centres with facilities for emergency obstetric care in our communities by the government.
Keywords: community perception, maternal mortality, Annang, Nigeria
Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Vol. 22(2) 2005: 189-192
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