Analysis of perinatal mortality at a teaching hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 1999-2003

Afr J Reprod Health. 2006 Aug;10(2):72-80.


We conducted a retrospective analysis of perinatal mortality at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 1999-2003 in order to categorise/classify perinatal deaths as well as to identify key factors in perinatal care that could be improved. Data were retrieved from the MNH obstetric database and causes of early neonatal deaths were traced from the neonatal ward register. The study includes all foetuses weighing =500g. A modified Nordic-Baltic classification was used for classification of perinatal deaths. Over a 5-year period there were 77,815 babies born with a perinatal mortality rate of 124 per 1000 births, 78% of which was labour related stillbirth. The PMR was 913/1000 for singleton births and 723/1000 for multiple births for babies weighing less than 1500 grams and 65/1000 for singleton births and 116/1000 for multiple births for babies weighing 2500 grams or more. Babies weighing less than 1500 grams contributed 26% of PMR, whereas 41% occurred in babies weighing 2500 grams or more. The majority (79%) of neonatal deaths had Apgar score <7 at 5 minutes and the most common causes of neonatal mortality were birth asphyxia (37%) and prematurity (29%). Labour related deaths were more common in multiple pregnancies. The majority of the perinatal deaths should be essentially avoidable through improved quality of intrapartum care. Establishment of perinatal audit at MNH can help identify key actions for improved care.

MeSH terms

  • Apgar Score
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Hospitals, University / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tanzania / epidemiology