A facility-based assessment of maternal mortality among all deaths in reproductive-aged women in Mzimba South District, Malawi

Priscilla Funsani, Hong Jiang, Thokozani Bvumbwe, Xu Qian


Accurate reporting of maternal mortality is essential for effective health policy planning and achieving maternal death reduction in Sustainable Development Goals Target 3 (SDGs). This study aimed to identify gaps between facility-based maternal death reviews and the hospital Health Management Information System (HMIS) reports in Mzimba South District, Malawi from July 2013 to June 2018. A retrospective hospital-based medical record review was conducted to identify maternal deaths among women aged 15 to 49 years with all death causes. Out of 447 mortality records identified from the hospital wards, 89 maternal mortality cases were identified by the study review compared to 83 cases in the HMIS report. The HMIS report showed an underreporting rate of 6.7% (6/89) and a misclassification rate of 13.5% (12/89) within five years. These findings highlight the need for establishing mechanisms for the verification and monitoring of maternal mortality data reporting in health facilities. Improving the quality of maternal death reporting could help inform evidence-based interventions and policies that address the root causes of maternal mortality, and achieve SDGs in Malawi. (Afr J Reprod Health 2023; 27 [4]: 77-83).

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