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Cause of and contributing factors to maternal deaths; a cross-sectional study using verbal autopsy in four districts in Bangladesh

Halim, A, Utz, Bettina, Biswas, A, Rahman, F and Van Den Broek, Nynke ORCID: (2014) 'Cause of and contributing factors to maternal deaths; a cross-sectional study using verbal autopsy in four districts in Bangladesh'. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Vol 121, Issue S4, pp. 86-94.

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Verbal autopsy used at community level is an accepted method to identify cause of death and factors contributing to death. Maternal deaths occurring in four districts in Bangladesh over a period of 24 months were identified and community health workers were trained to conduct a verbal autopsy. Of 571 maternal deaths identified almost half (273, 47.8%) occurred at facility level, 97 (17.0%) died en route to a healthcare facility and 201 (35.2%) maternal deaths occurred at home. The majority of maternal deaths occurred in the postpartum period (78.8%) in the first 6 hours after giving birth (41.6% of all postpartum deaths). Women who had accessed care at a healthcare facility were less likely to die in the first 6 hours when compared with women who died at home (relative risk 0.70; 95% confidence interval 0.56–0.88) 70.4% (402) of deaths were classified as direct maternal deaths, 12.4% (71) as indirect and 13.8% (79) as unspecified. The most common cause of death was haemorrhage (38%), followed by eclampsia (20%) and sepsis (8.1%). Almost three out of four women who died had sought care for complications during the index pregnancy. Most mothers who died in Bangladesh had accessed care. It is now crucial that the quality of care received at health facility level is improved. This includes a refocus on strengthening healthcare providers' knowledge and skills to recognise and manage complications and provide emergency obstetric care. The enabling environment must be in place as well as ensuring a fully functional referral pathway between healthcare facilities.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QZ Pathology > QZ 35 Postmortem examination
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 310 Maternal welfare
WA Public Health > Statistics. Surveys > WA 900 Public health statistics
WQ Obstetrics > Childbirth. Prenatal Care > WQ 175 Prenatal care
WQ Obstetrics > WQ 20 Research (General)
WQ Obstetrics > Pregnancy Complications > WQ 240 Pregnancy complications (General)
WQ Obstetrics > Labor > WQ 330 Complications of labor
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Caroline Hercod
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2014 11:26
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:07


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