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Health Policy Plan. 1997 Mar;12(1):50-7.

Operational factors affecting maternal mortality in Tanzania.

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  • 1Muhimbili Medical Centre, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Abstract

Identification of the main operational factors in cases of maternal death within and outside the health care system is necessary for safe motherhood programmes. In this study, a follow-up was done of all 117 cases of maternal deaths in Ilala district, Dar es Salaam, 1991-1993, at all levels of care. In all, 79% received some medical care whereas 11% arrived too late for treatment. For each case the major operational factors and all health care interventions were defined through interviews with family members and health care staff and from hospital records, and the avoidability of each case was determined. In the health institutions where the women had consulted, the available resources were assessed. It was found that in most cases the husband (29%) or the mother (31%) of the woman decided on her care in cases of complications, and together with the lack of transport, this often caused delay at home. Also, delay in transfer from the district hospital was common. Cases of abortion complications were often not managed on time because of the delay in reporting to hospital or misleading information. Suboptimal care was identified in 77% of the cases reaching health care. Inadequate treatment was identified by the district health staff in 61% and by the referral centres in 12% of their cases. Wrong decision at the district level and lack of equipment at the referral centre were the main reasons for inadequate care. It is concluded that although community education on danger signs in pregnancy and labour is important, provision of the core resources and supplies for emergency obstetric interventions, as well as clear protocols for management and referral, are absolutely necessary for improvement of maternal survival.

PMID:
10166102
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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