Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Huge Proportion Of Maternal Deaths Worldwide Are Preventable

Date:
February 19, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Women who die during pregnancy and childbirth in sub-Saharan Africa, more may die from treatable infectious diseases than from conditions directly linked to pregnancy. These results indicate that effective treatment and prevention of infectious disease, such as antiretroviral drugs for treating HIV/AIDS and insecticide-treated bed nets for preventing malaria, could greatly reduce the maternal death toll in Mozambique and perhaps in other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

A new study suggests that of women who die during pregnancy and childbirth in sub-Saharan Africa, more may die from treatable infectious diseases than from conditions directly linked to pregnancy.

Health professionals rarely have information on the cause of maternal death in this region, where half of all global maternal deaths occur. Often the only available information comes from clinical records or from verbal accounts by relatives of the deceased. By performing autopsies -- the surest way to establish the cause of death - in pregnant women in a hospital in Mozambique, Clara Menendez of the Hospital Clinic/University of Barcelona and colleagues found that the implementation of treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and bacterial infections should dramatically reduce the maternal death toll.

The study took place between October 2002 and December 2004 in Maputo General Hospital. During this period there were 179 maternal deaths and the researchers were able to perform autopsies on 139 of these women. The researchers found that obstetric complications -- conditions that are a result of pregnancy and giving birth --accounted for only 38% of deaths; this result contradicts the prevailing view that such complications are the main cause of maternal deaths in the developing world. Infectious diseases that are not specifically linked to pregnancy and delivery accounted for 48% of all the deaths: HIV/AIDS related conditions were the most common (over half of the women autopsied were HIV positive); malaria and bacterial infections leading to meningitis and pneumonia were also important causes of death.

These results indicate that effective treatment and prevention of infectious disease, such as antiretroviral drugs for treating HIV/AIDS and insecticide-treated bed nets for preventing malaria, could greatly reduce the maternal death toll in Mozambique and perhaps in other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. However, it should be noted that the single most common cause of death was as expected: haemorrhage, massive blood loss around the time of delivery, reflecting the failure of health systems to provide adequate obstetric care and safe blood transfusion.

Accurate data is essential to develop an effective health policy to reduce the maternal mortality ratio (1,000 deaths per 100,000 live births in sub-Saharan Africa, compared to 8 in the developing world), one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. This study, which took place in a referral hospital in the capital, does not reflect the causes of maternal death elsewhere in Mozambique; other representative studies of maternal death across the region are needed.

In his related expert commentary, UK pathologist Dr Sebastian Lucas (Kings College London), who was not one of the study authors, notes that the data will contribute to the debate on the associations between maternal death, HIV and malaria. Together with other representative studies on maternal deaths in poor countries, this study contributes to the critical question of how resources should best be allocated to reduce the number of maternal deaths worldwide.

Journal reference: Menendez C, Romagosa C, Ismail MR, Carrilho C, Saute F, et al. (2008) An autopsy study of maternal mortality in Mozambique: The contribution of infectious diseases. PLoS Med 5(2): e44.http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050044


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Huge Proportion Of Maternal Deaths Worldwide Are Preventable." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080219093039.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, February 19). Huge Proportion Of Maternal Deaths Worldwide Are Preventable. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080219093039.htm
Public Library of Science. "Huge Proportion Of Maternal Deaths Worldwide Are Preventable." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080219093039.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins