Objective: To use an active facility-based maternal and newborn surveillance system to describe cesarean delivery practices and outcomes in a resource-poor setting.
Methods: Using data from operating room logbooks, 392 cesarean deliveries were evaluated between April 1 and June 30 2006 at a large public maternity hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Results: The perinatal mortality rate was 89 per 1000 births: 57% antepartum and 37% intrapartum stillbirths. Fetuses with normal birth weight comprised 85% of intrapartum stillbirths. Obstructed labor, uterine rupture, and malpresentation accounted for more than 50% of perinatal deaths. The cesarean delivery rate was 10.2% and there were 2 maternal deaths.
Conclusion: The high percentage of intrapartum stillbirths among normal birth weight fetuses suggests a need for improved labor monitoring and surgical obstetric practices. The use of a facility-based perinatal surveillance system is critical in guiding such quality assurance initiatives.