Original Research

Aetiology of maternal mortality using verbal autopsy at Sokoto, North-Western Nigeria

Jamila A. Garba, Sadiq Umar
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 5, No 1 | a442 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v5i1.442 | © 2013 Jamila A. Garba, Sadiq Umar | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 March 2012 | Published: 20 June 2013

About the author(s)

Jamila A. Garba, Department of Community Health, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia
Sadiq Umar, Department of Community Health, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Nigeria


Background: Maternal mortality in developing countries is higher than that in developed countries. There are few published articles on the factors associated with maternal deaths in northern Nigeria.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to identify the medical causes and factors associated with maternal mortality in Sokoto, northern Nigeria.

Method: A verbal autopsy questionnaire was used to interview close relatives of women within the reproductive age group who had died of pregnancy-related complications in theSokoto metropolis during the preceding two years. A multistage sampling method using simple random sampling at each step was used to select areas of study within the Sokoto metropolis. Data analysis was carried out using a statistical package for social sciences (SPSS),version 19, and the Spearman correlation was used to test association. Significance level was set at 0.05.

Results: The major causes of death were haemorrhage (48.3%), eclampsia (19%) and prolonged labour (13.8%). The association between maternal mortality and the absence of antenatal booking was significant (p < 0.001); the association between maternal mortality andthe ‘three delays’ was also significant (p = 0.013). The association between maternal mortality and educational status and occupation was, however, not significant (p = 0.687 and p = 0.427respectively).

Conclusion: The medical causes of maternal mortality identified in this study were similar to those of the hospital-based studies in the area. In addition, an association between maternal deaths and the ‘three delays’ and the absence of antenatal booking was found. There is a need for public education efforts to address these factors in order to reduce maternal mortality in the study area.


Maternal Mortality; Verbal Autopsy; Sokoto, Nigeria


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Crossref Citations

1. Use of standard verbal autopsies to improve the mortality data capacity of civil registration and vital statistics systems in low- and middle-income countries: Analysis of key issues
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