Objective: To analyse and document our experiences with maternal mortality with the view of finding the trends over the last seven years, common causes and attributing socio-demographic factors.
Design: A prospective analysis of maternal mortality.
Setting: State Specialists Hospital Bauchi, Bauchi Northeastern Nigeria.
Main outcome measures: These include maternal mortality ratio for the period under review and the annual trends, age and parity most affected the direct and indirect causes of maternal mortality in our environment.
Results: The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) for the period under review was 1,732 per 100, 000 live births. Six hundred and twenty one of the deaths (81.0%) occurred in 12,067 unbooked deliveries giving a maternal mortality ratio of 5,146 per 100,000 for unbooked mothers. This ratio is approximately eleven times that obtained in booked live deliveries. Age range was 14-44 years and the mean age was 27.8 years. The highest maternal death was in the adolescent mothers. The primigravidas had the highest maternal mortality of 28.9%. The direct obstetric causes of maternal death accounted for 79.4% of the deaths. The major causes of deaths were eclampsia 31.9%, haemorrhage 19.2% and sepsis 10.4%. Amongst the indirect causes of maternal death, anaemia was the leading cause accounting for 12.1%. The annual MMR was highest for the year 2006 (2,586 per 100,000).
Conclusion: Maternal mortality is unacceptably high in our environment. The provision of more health facilities where basic and comprehensive antenatal care are provided, skilled attendants at birth, community mobilisation to improve antenatal attendance and the use of TBAs as a link between the pregnant women, families and communities providing important messages for a healthy pregnancy, and safe birth remain the bedrock of containing maternal mortality in our environment.