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A Comparison of the Characteristics of Maternal Near-Misses and Maternal Deaths in Enugu, Southeast Nigeria: A 3-Year Prospective Study

Authors Ugwu GO, Iyoke CA, Ezugwu EC, Ajah LO, Onah HE, Ozumba BC

Received 4 November 2019

Accepted for publication 20 February 2020

Published 26 March 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 207—211


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer

George O Ugwu, Chukwuemeka A Iyoke, Euzebus C Ezugwu, Leonard O Ajah, Hyacinth E Onah, Benjamin C Ozumba

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria

Correspondence: George O Ugwu Tel +234 80 3565 3435

Background: Maternal near-misses, also known as severe acute maternal morbidity, have become globally recognized as an appropriate indicator of obstetric care. Women experiencing maternal near-misses are more in number than maternal deaths, and can provide more specific and detailed evidence, as the patient herself can be a leading source of useful information.
Objective: To determine the frequency of maternal near-misses and maternal deaths in the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, document the primary determinant factor that caused these, and compare cases of maternal near-miss and maternal deaths.
Methods: This was a 3-year prospective study of all women admitted for delivery or within 42 days of delivery or termination of pregnancy at the hospital. Data were collected prospectively in consecutive patients in a pro forma manner and entered into SPSS version 17 for Windows.
Results: There was a total of 2,236 deliveries, of which 88 had severe maternal outcomes. Of the latter, 60 were maternal near-misses, while 28 suffered maternal death. The maternal near-miss:mortality ratio was found to be 2.14. The maternal mortality ratio here was 1,252 per 100,000. All the 88 women that had severe maternal outcomes lived at least 5 km from the hospital. The leading organ-system dysfunction in this study was cardiovascular, manifesting as shock and cardiac arrest, and respiratory, manifesting as gasping and cyanosis. Leading complications were severe hemorrhage, anemia, and hypertensive disorders. The pattern of complications was similar in both near-misses and maternal deaths, but cases of hypertensive disorders and exploratory laparotomy as an intervention for those with organ dysfunction were noted to be higher in near-miss cases, and differences were statistically significant.
Conclusion: It was concluded that despite numerous similarities in the characteristics of patients who had had maternal near-misses or died, our study points out that those who succumb to death are often < 40 years of age, poorly educated, unemployed, usually present as unbooked emergencies from a distance > 5 km and suffer maternal death within 24 hours of presentation.

Keywords: maternal near-miss, maternal deaths, Enugu, Nigeria

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