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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 309-315

Effect of free maternal health services on maternal mortality: An experience from Niger Delta, Nigeria


1 Department of Public Health Unit, School of Health Sciences, National Open University of Nigeria, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria
2 Department of Public Health Unit, School of Health Sciences, Antenatal Clinic, Central Hospital Kwale, Delta State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Samuel O Azubuike
Public Health Unit, National Open University of Nigeria, 14/16 Ahmadu Bello Way, PMB 80067, Victoria Island Lagos
Nigeria
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Source of Support: Nil., Conflict of Interest: There are no conflicts of interest.


DOI: 10.4103/2348-3334.165738

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Background: Free maternal health care was launched by Delta State Government in 2007. This development was laudable as poverty has been identified as a big hindrance to accessing health care services among mothers in rural communities. There was need, however, to ascertain the effectiveness of this program. Aim: The study aimed at determining maternal mortality rate (MMR) from 2005 to 2009, its correlates, obstetric cause of death and to evaluate the effect of free maternal care on MMR. Methodology: MMRs were computed based on all maternal deaths and live births available in summary health report of Ika South local government area from 2005 to 2009. Correlational analysis was done to determine the correlates of MMRs. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16 (USA, 2007) was used in the analysis. Results: There was a reduction in MMR from 932/100,000 in 2005 to 604/100,000 in 2009. This reduction negatively correlated (r =−;0.74, P = 0.15) with an increase in antenatal care registration within the period. The gradual increase in proportion of child delivery in health facilities from 59% in 2007 to 74.6% (2288/3065) in 2009 negatively correlated (r =−;0.5, P = 0.4) with a reduction in MMR from 836/100,000 to 604/100,000. The number of skilled staff employed increased by 36.4% (51/140) since 2005 and negatively correlated (r =−;0.34, P = 0.56) with MMR reduction of 328/100,000 since that period, with the employment of nurses being the stronger correlate (r =−;0.48, P = 0.41). Hemorrhage (44%) was the leading obstetric cause of death. Conclusion: The study showed that MMR has been on a gradual downward trend since the introduction of free maternal health services in Delta State, Nigeria.


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