Maternal mortality in south-South Nigeria: Are we getting it right?
Background: Maternal mortality is a global public health challenge. Most studies in Nigeria on this topic are conducted in tertiary health centres. This study was thus designed to ascertain the maternal mortality ratio, the types and socio-demographic characteristics of the maternal deaths in a secondary health care facility in south-south Nigeria.
Methodology: In this retrospective study, medical records of all maternal deaths that occurred in the obstetric unit of the health facility from January 2005 to December 2010 were extracted and reviewed.
Results: During the study period, there were 3,068 deliveries and 12 maternal deaths giving an overall maternal mortality ratio of 391 per 100,000 births. The age distribution showed that 50.0% of the deaths occurred in the 26 to 30 year old group. Most (41.7%) of the women were unemployed, 25.0% had no formal education with 58.0% having low level of education. Those of parity 3 and 4 constituted 66.7%, as were the unbooked cases. Majority (75.0%) had spontaneous vertex delivery. All deaths were due to direct obstetric causes with 66.7% resulting from Primary post partum haemorrhage, while 16.7% were due to severe Pre-eclampsia/ Eclampsia and puerperal sepsis respectively.
Conclusion: The MMR observed in the study was 391 per 100,000 births. All maternal deaths were due to direct obstetric causes with haemorrhage, puerperal sepsis and severe Pre-eclampsia/ Eclampsia being the leading causes. Female education, poverty reduction, utilization of antenatal care services, availability of Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care as well as family planning services for child spacing and family size limitation are
Keywords: Maternal Mortality, Haemorrhage, Southern Nigeria.
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