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A 3-year retrospective review of mortality in women of reproductive age in a tertiary health facility in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Authors Orazulike NC, Alegbeleye JO, Obiorah CC, Nyengidiki TK, Uzoigwe SA

Received 27 March 2017

Accepted for publication 23 August 2017

Published 16 October 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 769—775


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer

Ngozi C Orazulike,1 Justina O Alegbeleye,1 Christopher C Obiorah,2 Tamunomie K Nyengidiki,1 Samuel A Uzoigwe1

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2Department of Anatomical Pathology, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria

Purpose: To determine the causes of death and associated risk factors among women of reproductive age (WRA) in a tertiary institution in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Patients and methods: This was a retrospective survey of all deaths in women aged 15–49 years at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital that occurred from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2015. Data retrieved from ward registers, death registers, and death certificates were analyzed with Epi Info version 7. Comparison of socioeconomic and demographic risk factors for maternal and nonmaternal deaths was done using a multivariate logistic regression model.
Results: There were 340 deaths in the WRA group over the 3-year period. The majority (155 [45.6%]) of the women were aged 30–39 years. There were 265 (77.9%) nonmaternal deaths and 75 (22.1%) maternal deaths. Among the nonmaternal deaths, 124 (46.8%) had infectious diseases, with human immunodeficiency virus being the most common cause of infection in this group. Breast cancer (13 [4.9%]), cervical cancer (12 [4.5%]), and ovarian cancer (11 [4.2%]) were the most common malignant neoplasms observed. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (31 [41.3%]) and puerperal sepsis (20 [26.7%]) were the most common causes of maternal deaths. Age and occupation were significantly associated with deaths in WRA (p<0.05). Older women aged >30 years (odd ratio =1.86, 95% CI =1.07–3.23) and employed women (odds ratio =2.55, 95% CI =1.46–4.45) were more likely to die from nonmaternal than maternal causes.
Conclusion: Most of the deaths were nonmaternal. Infectious diseases, diseases of the circulatory system, and malignant neoplasms were the major causes of death among WRA, with maternal deaths accounting for approximately a quarter. Public health programs educating women on safer sex practices, early screening for cancers, benefits of antenatal care, and skilled attendants at delivery will go a long way to reducing preventable causes of deaths among these women.

Keywords: maternal deaths, nonmaternal deaths, causes of death, infectious diseases

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