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SHORT REPORT
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 261-265 Table of Contents     

Awareness and perception of maternal mortality among women in a semi-urban community in the Niger Delta of Nigeria


1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Clinical Medicine, Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Health, School of Medicine, University of Benin, Nigeria
3 Baptist Medical Centre, Eku, Delta State, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication5-Feb-2010

Correspondence Address:
G O Igberase
P.O. Box 4246, Warri, Delta State
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.59582

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   Abstract 

Background: Maternal mortality rates are very high in Nigeria. Increased level of awareness and perception will reduce maternal mortality rates.
Objective: The study was aimed at assessing the awareness and perception of maternal mortality among women in the reproductive age group at Ogunu community in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
Methodology: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study that was carried out in Ogunu town in Delta State. A simple random sampling technique was used to select 400 women, who gave consent to be enrolled in the study. They were assisted in filling a semi-structured questionnaire containing questions on awareness and perception of maternal mortality among women in the community.
Information generated was recorded on a data collection sheet designed for the study. The coded data were fed into the computer using the SPSS program to determine the mean values and frequencies.
Results: A total of 400 questionnaires were distributed; of these, 349 were completely filled and returned. The mean age of the study subjects was 31.6 ± 7.7 years. Among these subjects, 54.7% were married, while 32.7%, 28.7% and 26.5% had tertiary, secondary and primary education, respectively. The study revealed that 96.3% of the subjects felt that death can occur from pregnancy-related problems, while 69.1% were aware of maternal mortality. Majority of the subjects agreed that one or more forms of delay could be responsible for their death.
This study shows that a good proportion of subjects was aware of maternal mortality and also had a good perception of it.
Conclusion: Efforts should be directed towards educating women about the risk of delivering in homes of traditional birth attendants, maternity homes and health centers, and the concept of early referral of women to the hospital should be reinforced. Providing information to women on prevention of maternal mortality and community participation and mobilization will help prevent maternal mortality to some extent in Nigeria.

   Abstract in French 

Arrière-plan: Statistiques de mortalité maternelle de est très élevé au Nigeria. Augmentation du niveau de sensibilisation et de la perception réduira la mortalité maternelle.
Objectif: L'étude visait à évaluer la connaissance et la perception de complications obstétriques chez les femmes dans le groupe d'âge reproductif à la Communauté Ogunu dans le zone de gouvernement local du Warri d'état de Delta.
Méthodologie: C'était un descriptif cross étude transversale qui a été effectuée dans la ville de Ogunu en état de Delta. Une technique d'échantillonnage aléatoire simple a été utilisée pour sélectionner les 400 femmes qui ont donné de consentement à la l'étude. Ils ont aidé à remplir un questionnaire semi-structurés contenant questions sur la sensibilisation et la perception de la mortalité maternelle chez les femmes dans le Communauté.
Des informations générées a été enregistrées sur une fiche de collecte de données conçue pour l'étude. Les données codées ont été intégrées dans l'ordinateur à l'aide de la SPSS programme visant à déterminer les valeurs moyennes et fréquences.
Résultats: Un total de 400 questionnaires ont été distribués avec 349 complètement rempli et retourné. Le âge moyen était de 31.6 ± 7.7 ans. Cinquante quatre point sept pour cent des sujets étaient marié lors de 32, 7%, 28% et 26, 5% avaient tertiaire, secondaire et primaire l'éducation respectivement. Quatre-vingt six point trois pour cent ont convenu que la mort peut dans problème connexe de grossesse se produit alors que 69.1% étaient conscients d'une maternelle mortalité. Majorité des sujets d'accord pour dire qu'un ou plusieurs forme de retard pourrait être responsable de leur mort.
Cette étude montre qu'une bonne proportion des sujets étaient au courant d'et a également une bonne perception de la maternelle mortalité.
Conclusion: Efforts devraient être dirigés vers l'éducation à la santé des femmes à risque de livraison à domicile des accoucheuses traditionnelles, maternities et de la santé Il convient de renforcer les centres et renvoi au début de la femme à l'hôpital.Information des femmes sur la prévention de la mortalité maternelle et de la Communauté participation et la mobilisation contribuera à éviter la mortalité maternelle à certains dans quelle mesure au Nigeria.

Keywords: Awareness, maternal mortality, perception, semi-urban women


How to cite this article:
Igberase G O, Isah E C, Igbekoyi O F. Awareness and perception of maternal mortality among women in a semi-urban community in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. Ann Afr Med 2009;8:261-5

How to cite this URL:
Igberase G O, Isah E C, Igbekoyi O F. Awareness and perception of maternal mortality among women in a semi-urban community in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. Ann Afr Med [serial online] 2009 [cited 2019 Sep 15];8:261-5. Available from: http://www.annalsafrmed.org/text.asp?2009/8/4/261/59582


   Introduction Top


The neglected tragedy of maternal mortality has been described as the health scandal of our time. [1] For women of reproductive age, complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading causes of maternal mortality, disease and disability, accounting for at least 18% of the global burden of disease in this age group. [1] World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) estimate that there are well over 600,000 maternal deaths worldwide annually, with 99% of these maternal deaths occurring in the developing countries. [2]

Globally, 1 woman dies every minute from complication related to childbirth. [2] For every maternal death, 15-20 other women suffer severe disabilities that significantly jeopardize their reproductive health and socioeconomic status. [3] Estimates as high as 1000-2000 per 100,000 live births are commonly reported in Nigeria. [4],[5]

It is estimated that 75% of maternal deaths are direct obstetric deaths due to obstetric complications such as hemorrhage, sepsis, hypertensive disorder, unsafe abortion and obstructed labor. [5],[6] Other non-obstetric causes include anemia, sickle cell disease and cardiac diseases. Nonmedical factors include socioeconomic factors (illiteracy, poverty, ignorance, poor nutrition and poor use of available maternal services), cultural factors, religious factors, poor transport and telecommunication and biological factors (age and parity differential). [5] These, apart from lack of provision of emergency obstetric care, also play important roles in maternal mortality. Sociocultural factors have been highlighted as significant contributors to maternal mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. [7] Okolocha et al. concluded that for a fuller understanding of maternal morbidity and mortality, it is important to consider factors outside the hospital and formal medical practice. [7]

A study in Konduga, Bornu State of Nigeria, showed that their community members had a good understanding of obstetric complications leading to maternal death. [8]

Another study among the Annang in southeastern Nigeria showed that most of the participants felt hospitals generally connote sickness and were places reserved for sick people only. The most common causes of maternal death highlighted by the participants were spiritual attack from enemies and punishment by the gods for infidelity. [9]

Awareness and perception among the community members of the causes of maternal deaths will influence their decision to seek help in the face of an emergency. Pregnancy and delivery are regarded as natural processes, and complications may not be a sufficient reason for concern.

Nigerian women's recognition of the correct causes of maternal mortality will greatly improve their health-seeking behavior and therefore could reduce our present alarming rates of maternal mortality. The objective of this study was to determine the awareness and perception of maternal mortality among women in Ogunu town in Delta State of Nigeria. No such study has been done in this region. It is against this background that this study was conceived.


   Materials and Methods Top


This was a descriptive cross-sectional study that was carried out in Ogunu town in Delta State. A simple random sampling technique was used to select 400 women, who gave consent to be enrolled in the study. They were assisted in filling a semi-structured questionnaire containing questions on awareness and perception of maternal mortality in the community.

Information generated was recorded on a data collection sheet designed for the study. The coded data were fed into the computer using the SPSS program to determine the mean values and frequencies.

Approval of the ethical review committee was obtained before the study was carried out.


   Results Top


A total of 400 questionnaires were distributed; of these, 349 completely filled and analyzable questionnaires were returned, giving a response rate of 87.3%.

[Table 1], below, shows that the majority (44.1%) of the subjects were in the age group 25-34 years. The mean age was 31.6 ± 7.7 years. Among these subjects, 54.7% were married, while 32.7%, 28.7% and 26.5% had tertiary, secondary and primary education, respectively, and 11.2% had no education.

[Table 2] shows that 96.3% of the subjects felt that death can occur from pregnancy-related problems, while 85.4% stated that excessive vaginal bleeding is a possible cause of death. Two hundred seventy-two (77.9%) of the subjects were of the opinion that lack of money is a cause of death. The study revealed that 69.1% of the subjects knew of at least one maternal death in the family, and excessive bleeding was the commonest cause (79.7%). Majority of the subjects agreed that one or more forms of delay could be responsible for their death, with delay caused by hospital staff being the most frequently mentioned (74.8%).

General hospital was the facility mentioned by most (57.4%) as providing emergency obstetric care, followed by teaching hospitals (54.4%), private hospitals (53.0%), maternity homes (18.9%) and traditional birth attendants (5.2%).


   Discussion Top


The study shows, in general, women in this community have a high degree of awareness and perception of maternal mortality, as 96.3% of the subjects opined that pregnancy-related complications can lead to death. This may not be unrelated to the fact that 61.4% of the subjects had tertiary and secondary education. Similar observations have been noted in previous studies. [7],[8] Surprisingly, this high level of awareness even among some sections of the populace does not translate to reduced maternal mortality rates, as Nigeria still has one of the worst statistics in the world with regard to maternal mortality.

Obstetric hemorrhage was the commonest cause of maternal mortality mentioned by subjects (85.4%); and out of the 69.1% that were aware of a maternal death in their families, obstetric hemorrhage (79.7%) was the most frequent reason given for death. The recognition that obstetric hemorrhage is the commonest cause of maternal mortality at the community level mirrors the popular research findings that in Nigeria and worldwide, obstetric hemorrhage is the commonest cause of maternal mortality. [2],[3],[5],[10] Okolocha et al. found that women in southern Nigeria had fairly good knowledge of obstetric hemorrhage as a cause of maternal mortality but yet their attitudes, practices and situations kept them away from, or delayed the decision to seek, modern obstetric care. [7] Causes such as infidelity, witchcraft/evil forces and disobedience surprisingly constituted 8.3% of the causes of death mentioned by the subjects. This may be due to the fact that majority of the study population were educated. This finding contradicts the finding of a similar study from the southeast geopolitical zone of Nigeria, where spiritual attack from enemies and punishment by the gods for infidelity were perceived as frequent causes of maternal mortality. [9] The three types of delays were also suggested by most of the subjects as contributing factors to maternal mortality. Majority of the subjects were of the opinion that delay by hospital staff was more crucial. Delay as cause of maternal death has been noted in previous studies also. [5],[8],[11]

In agreement with Harrison's opinion that poverty and low socioeconomic status is a significant contributor to maternal mortality in Nigeria, [5] lack of money was suggested by the majority of the respondents as contributing to maternal mortality.

There is no teaching hospital in the state at the moment. This may be the reason why most women (57.4%) believe that referrals should go to the general hospitals for emergency obstetric care. Some of the respondents had a different opinion - that private hospitals, maternity homes and traditional birth attendants are providers of emergency obstetric care. Choosing private hospitals and maternity homes may be due to the long waiting periods experienced by patients in government hospitals in Nigeria, while opting for traditional birth attendants may be due to the inherent belief system or poverty of those doing so. Emergency obstetric care is lacking in many hospitals and maternity homes in Nigeria, and this could be the most critical singular factor contributing to maternal deaths. [5],[11]

In order to reduce the horrifying high rate of maternal mortality in Nigeria, health education programs on prevention of maternal deaths and morbidities targeted at the populace, especially the women, need to be improved. The men should not be left out since they take most of the decisions in families. Contents of such health education messages should include early recognition of danger signs of maternal mortality, dispelling harmful cultural beliefs, registering early for antenatal care and prompt presentation at the hospital when in labor.

Efforts should be directed towards educating women about the risk of delivering in homes of traditional birth attendants, maternity homes and health centers, and the concept of early referral of women to the hospital should be reinforced. Also, the socioeconomic status of the populace, especially the women, should be improved. This can be achieved by educating the girl child, providing employment for women and implementation of Nigeria's gender policy.

 
   References Top

1.Fathalla MF. Imagine a world where motherhood is safe for all women-you can help make it happen. Int J Obstet Gynecol 2001;72:207-13.  Back to cited text no. 1      
2.World Health Organisation (WHO). Revised 1990 Estimates of Maternal Mortality. A new approach by WHO and UNICEF. Geneva: WHO; 1996 (WHO.FRH/MSM96.11).  Back to cited text no. 2      
3.Chukwudebelu WO. Maternal mortality. Trop J Obstet Gynaecol 1995;12:1-3.  Back to cited text no. 3      
4.Igberase GO, Ebeigbe PN. Maternal mortality in a rural referral hospital in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. J Obstet Gynaecol 2007;27:257-8.  Back to cited text no. 4      
5.Harrison KA. Maternal mortality in Nigeria: The real issues. Afr J Reprod Health 1997;1:7-13.  Back to cited text no. 5  [PUBMED]    
6.Neilson JP. Statistics and effective care in obstetrics: In Dewhurst textbook of obstetrics and gynaecology for postgraduates, In: Edmonds DE, editor. Blackwell Science Publication; 1999. p. 354-60.  Back to cited text no. 6      
7.Okolocha C, Chiwuzie J, Braimoh S, Unuigbe J, Olumeko P. Sociocultural factors in maternal mortality: A study of a semi-urban community in Southern Nigeria. J Epidemiol Community Health 1998;52:293-7.  Back to cited text no. 7      
8.Kawuwa MB, Mairiga AG, Usman HA. Community perspective of maternal mortality: Experience from Konduga Local Government Area, Borno State, Nigeria. Ann Afr Med 2007;6:109-14.  Back to cited text no. 8  [PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
9.Umoiyoho AJ, Abasiattai AM, Udoma EJ, Etuk SJ. Community perception of the causes of maternal mortality among the Annang of Nigeria's South-East coast. Trop J Obstet Gynaecol 2005;22:189-92.  Back to cited text no. 9      
10.Ujah IA, Aisien OA, Mutihir JT, Vanderjaqt DJ, Glew RH, Uguru VE. Factors contributing to maternal mortality in North-central Nigeria: A seventeen year review. Afr J Reprod Health 2005;9:27-40.  Back to cited text no. 10      
11.Thaddeus S, Maine D. Too far to walk: Maternal mortality in context. Soc Sci Med 1994;38:1091-110.  Back to cited text no. 11  [PUBMED]    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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