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Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2007 Mar;96(3):220-5. Epub 2007 Feb 8.

Emergency obstetric care as the priority intervention to reduce maternal mortality in Uganda.

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Ministry of Health, Kampala, Uganda.



We conducted a survey to determine availability of emergency obstetric care (EmOC) to provide baseline data for monitoring provision of obstetric care services in Uganda.


The survey, covering 54 districts and 553 health facilities, assessed availability of EmOC signal functions. Following this, performance improvement process was implemented in 20 district hospitals to scale-up EmOC services.


A maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 671/100,000 live births was recorded. Hemorrhage, 42.2%, was the leading direct cause of maternal deaths, and malaria accounted for 65.5% of the indirect causes. Among the obstetric complications, abortion accounted for 38.9% of direct and malaria 87.4% of indirect causes. Removal of retained products (OR 3.3, P<0.002), assisted vaginal delivery (OR 3.3, P<0.001) and blood transfusion (OR 13.7, P<0.001) were the missing signal functions contributing to maternal deaths. Most health facilities expected to offer basic EmOC, 349 (97.2%) were not offering them. Using the performance improvement process, availability of EmOC in the 20 hospitals improved significantly.


An integrated programming approach aiming at increasing access to EmOC, malaria treatment and prevention services could reduce maternal mortality in Uganda.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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