Author(s): Berhan Y, Berhan A
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The major causes of maternal and perinatal deaths are mostly pregnancy related. However, there are several predisposing factors for the increased risk of pregnancy related complications and deaths in developing countries. The objective of this review was to grossly estimate the effect of selected socioeconomic and cultural factors on maternal mortality, stillbirths and neonatal mortality in Ethiopia. METHODS: A comprehensive literature review was conducted focusing on the effect of total fertility rate (TFR), modern contraceptive use, harmful traditional practice, adult literacy rate and level of income on maternal and perinatal mortalities. For the majority of the data, regression analysis and Pearson correlation coefficient were used as a proxy indicator for the association of variables with maternal, fetal and neonatal mortality. RESULTS: Although there were variations in the methods for estimation, the TFR of women in Ethiopia declined from 5.9 to 4.8 in the last fifteen years, which was in the middle as compared with that of other African countries. The preference of injectable contraceptive method has increased by 7-fold, but the unmet contraceptive need was among the highest in Africa. About 50\% reduction in female genital cutting (FGC) was reported although some women's attitude was positive towards the practice of FGC. The regression analysis demonstrated increased risk of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal mortality with increased TFR. The increased adult literacy rate was associated with increased antenatal care and skilled person attended delivery. Low adult literacy was also found to have a negative association with stillbirths and neonatal and maternal mortality. A similar trend was also observed with income. CONCLUSION: Maternal mortality ratio, stillbirth rate and neonatal mortality rate had inverse relations with income and adult education. In Ethiopia, the high total fertility rate, low utilization of contraceptive methods, low adult literacy rate, low income and prevalent harmful traditional practices have probably contributed to the high maternal mortality ratio, stillbirth and neonatal mortality rates.
This article was published in Ethiop J Health Sci
and referenced in Journal of Infectious Diseases and Diagnosis