Perceptions of women of reproductive age towards maternal death in Qaukeni sub-District, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa: A qualitative study

Nomahlubi Dorcas Mayekiso, Daniel Ter Goon, Nonceba Vellem, Uchenna Benedine Okafor, Ntombana M. Rala


Maternal mortality is a global problem, particularly in developing countries. This study explored perceptions, knowledge and attitudes of women of reproductive age concerning maternal deaths in Qaukeni Sub-District, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. This was a community-based qualitative study using using in-depth interviews among women of reproductive age. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis.  The study found some of the mothers knew the causes, signs and symptoms of pregnancy as well as danger signs during pregnancy such as haemorrhage, sepsis, high blood pressure and complications of unsupervised home deliveries, while others had little knowledge about these signs and symptoms. The participants indicated that using herbal medications during pregnancy could result to serious complications and even maternal death. Women do not attend antenatal care because of the long distances, absence of clinics, shortage of nurses and doctors; thus, predisposing women to deliver at homes with the assistance of traditional birth attendants, who had limited knowledge related to health issues and the Prevention of Mother-to-Child-Transmission programme. The findings indicated that some women are knowledgeable about the causes of maternal deaths during pregnancy as well as the signs and symptoms of pregnancy. Health education during pregnancy and provision of better resources would help improve the maternal health of women in this rural setting. (Afr J Reprod Health 2020; 24[4]: 147-163).

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