Author(s): Kongnyuy EJ, Mlava G, van den Broek N
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Abstract PURPOSE: We sought to determine the causes and characteristics maternal deaths that occur in health facilities in Malawi. METHODS: Forty-three maternal deaths were reviewed in 9 hospitals in 3 districts in Central Malawi over a 1-year period. Causes and avoidable factors of maternal deaths were identified during the review, and recommendations made and implemented. MAIN FINDINGS: There were 28 (65.1\%) direct obstetric deaths and 15 (34.9\%) indirect obstetric deaths. The major causes of maternal deaths were postpartum hemorrhage (25.6\%), postpartum sepsis (16.3\%), HIV/AIDS (16.3\%), ruptured uterus (7.0\%), complications of abortion (7.0\%), anemia (7.0\%), antepartum hemorrhage (4.7), and eclampsia (4.7). Two thirds of the women were referred either from another health facility (51.2\%) or by a traditional birth attendant (TBA; 11.6\%), and up to 79.1\% were critically ill on admission. Four groups of factors that contributed to maternal deaths were identified: 1) health worker factors, 2) administrative factors, 3) patient/family factors, and 4) TBA factors. The major health worker factors were inadequate resuscitation (69.8\%), lack of obstetric life-saving skills (60.5\%), inadequate monitoring (55.8\%), initial assessment incomplete (46.5\%), and delay in starting treatment (46.5\%). The most common administrative factor was lack of blood for transfusion (20.9\%). The major problems encountered include shortage of staff and other resources, difficulty in maintaining anonymity, poor quality of data, and difficulty in implementing recommendations. CONCLUSION: Adequate training on obstetric life-saving skills, addressing HIV/AIDS, and raising community awareness could be important factors for reducing maternal mortality in Malawi and countries with similar socioeconomic profiles.
This article was published in Womens Health Issues
and referenced in Andrology-Open Access