The Pattern and Spectrum of Severe Maternal Morbidities in Nigerian tertiary Hospitals

Calvin M Chama, Saturday J Etuk, Olufemi T Oladapo


Maternal morbidities are precursors to maternal mortality as well as potential causes of life time disability and poor quality of life. This study aimed to determine the pattern and spectrum of life-threatening maternal morbidities seen in tertiary reproductive health facilities in Nigeria. All cases of severe maternal outcome (SMO), maternal near-misses (MNM), or maternal death (MD), attending 42 tertiary hospitals across all geopolitical zones of Nigeria were prospectively identified using the WHO criteria over a period of 14 months. The main outcome measures were the incidence and outcome of severe maternal outcome by geopolitical regions of Nigeria. The participating hospitals recorded a total of 4383 severe maternal outcomes out of which were 3285 maternal near-misses and 998 maternal deaths. The proportion of maternal near-miss was similar across all the geopolitical zones but the maternal mortality ratio was highest in the southwestern zone (1,552) and least in the northcentral zone (750) of the country. Haemorrhage was the leading cause of severe maternal morbidities followed by hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. The mortality index of about 41% using the organ dysfunction criterion was triple the figures from other parts of the world. The findings reflect poor obstetric care in the tertiary hospitals in Nigeria. The health facilities in the country urgently need to be revamped. (Afr J Reprod Health 2020; 24[2]: 115-122).

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