Search for articles

Article Detail

Analysis of trends in maternal mortalities in Bicol region using national health surveys and maternal death reviews

Ma. Stephanie Fay S. Cagayan, MD, Rita Mae Ang-Bon, MD, MPM, Raymark D. Salonga, RN, MPH, Fernando B. Garcia, Jr., PhD, Filomena S. San Juan, MD, PhD, Cecilia L. Llave, MD, PhD, Erlidia F. Llamas-Clark, MD, MPH, PhD
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine University of the Philippines-Manila Department of Health Region V Philippines Graduate School Department, The University of the East-Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center Department of Health

Background: Since 1976, Bicol Region had higher maternal mortality ratio (MMR) than the Philippine average and became the fourth region with the highest MMR in 2012. Looking at trends of maternal health outcomes and determining risk factors among mothers who died may guide interventions to reduce MMR.

Objectives: To determine the changes in maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in the Bicol region from 2004 to 2017 and determine the sociodemographic profile of pregnant women who died from 2015 to 2018.

Materials and Methods: A records review of Bicol?s Regional Field Health Services Information System from 2004 to 2017 and maternal death review reports from 2015 to 2018 was done. Changes in MMR was determined using Poisson regression. The sociodemographic characteristics and causes of maternal deaths were analyzed using frequencies and proportion.

Results: From 2004 to 2017, MMR of 100.9 remained higher than the regional target of 31.6. Significant reductions in MMR were achieved in 2007 to 2008 and in 2011 to 2012 wherein MMR ranged between 75.3 to 89.3. However, by the end of 2012, maternal deaths again increased which reached 122.5 in 2017.
From the maternal death reviews, it was observed that 29.5% of maternal deaths were aged 35 years and above and 7.5% were less than 20 years old. Mothers who had more than five pregnancies were 30.1% of total deaths. In terms of place of death, 15.7% died at home or in-transit to referral facilities. Hemorrhage or hypertension-related causes were the leading reasons for maternal deaths.

Conclusion: Significant reduction in MMR was not sustained after 2012 and higher deaths were reported in the succeeding years. Maternal deaths can be further reduced by using a systems approach, by promoting family planning, and by strengthening service delivery networks to effectively manage hemorrhage and hypertension-related emergencies.