Two years maternal mortality in Matebeleland North Province, Zimbabwe
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Objective: To describe timeliness and completeness of maternal mortality notifications after the introduction of a revised national notification form in 1998, as well as socio-demographic and obstetric variables and causes of maternal deaths. Design: Retrospective descriptive study. Setting: Seven districts in Matebeleland North province. Subjects: 95 maternal death notifications from 1 August 1998 to 31 July 2000. Main Outcome Measures: Delay in submission and completeness of reports, age, marital status, religion, reproductive history, booking and referral status, duration and outcome of pregnancy, place of death, cause of death. Results: 92/95 notifications were true maternal deaths, 86% were notified within 48 hours and 79% were complete, 74% of the deaths took place in a health facility. Mean age of the women was 27.8 years, mean parity 3.0. Sixty percent had booked. The five main causes of death were obstetric haemorrhage (26%), malaria (24%), immune deficiency syndrome (13%), abortion (11%) and eclampsia (8%). The maternal mortality ratio per 100 000 reported home and institutional live births ranged from 155 to 532 per district. Conclusion: There is under reporting of maternal mortality in some districts, although from 1997 to 2000 a 200% increase in reporting was seen. Timeliness and completeness of reporting was satisfactory. With the exception of a high contribution from malaria the causes of maternal mortality in Matebeleland North province are similar to those reported elsewhere in Zimbabwe.