McCaw-Binns, Affette M.; Standard-Goldson, Aileen; Ashley, Deanna E.; Walker, G.; MacGillivray, I
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Community Health and Psychiatry
Access to care and maternal mortality in Jamaica
West Indian Medical Journal
Date of Publication
As part of the reproductive health quality assurance programme, the Ministry of Health sought to review maternal deaths in public hospitals. These hospitals attend 95% of institutional births and 82% of all births. Deaths among females 10-50 years in public hospitals during 1993-1995 were reviewed to identify pregnancy- related deaths. Cause of death and access to care were compared with previous studies (1981-1983 and 1986-1987 [12 months]). The maternal mortality ratio of 106.2 per 100 000 live births, was no different than the 119.7 observed in 1986-1987 and 118.6 for 1981-1983. The leading causes of death remained pre-eclampsia/eclampsia and haemorrhage. The only significant cause-specific decline occurred among deaths due to ruptured ectopic pregnancy (P = 0.012). While in 1986- 1987 access to care was associated with risk of death from gestational hypertension (P = 0.02), these differences are no longer significant. Differences persist, however, for haemorrhage and all other causes, which were less likely to occur at the more skilled institutions. The region with the least obstetricians had the highest mortality ratio but the one with the most did not have the lowest ratio, indicating that quality is more important than quantity. Regional differences indicate the capacity to reduce maternal mortality by at least 50% with re-allocation of skilled personnel and improved quality. All hospitals must be able to manage haemorrhage cases as patients are unlikely to survive referral.....