Maternal death audit system key to curbing mortality

RWAMAGANA - Barely six months since the government introduced the maternal death audit system, the method has already identified the major causes of maternal mortality in Rwamagana District. This was revealed yesterday by the Medical Chief of Staff at Rwamagana hospital, Dr. Avite Mutaganzwa.
Health Minister Dr. Richard Sezibera taking part in the Immunisation exercise in Bugesera District recently.(File photo)
Health Minister Dr. Richard Sezibera taking part in the Immunisation exercise in Bugesera District recently.(File photo)

RWAMAGANA - Barely six months since the government introduced the maternal death audit system, the method has already identified the major causes of maternal mortality in Rwamagana District.

This was revealed yesterday by the Medical Chief of Staff at Rwamagana hospital, Dr. Avite Mutaganzwa.

According to Mutaganzwa, the system was established to control deaths and find solutions to the reasons why women die due to pregnancy-related causes.

“Last year, health workers were trained how to carry out maternal audits and it started in January this year. Since its inception, we have identified the major causes of these deaths as uterus ruptures, bleeding after delivery, and infections that occur after delivery,” Mutaganzwa explained.

The official highlighted that in the past, these deaths were simply documented but not much was done to ensure that other women do not die of the same causes.

“It is a different story today, because we not only find out why they die, but we also find solutions to these causes and ensure that maternal mortality is prevented right at the community level,” he added.

“Between January and April 2010, we handled eight cases of ruptured uterus, three of bleeding after delivery and 32 post-delivery infections. This is an improvement compared to the figures of previous years, like in 2008 where 163 cases of bleeding were received.”

He however highlighted that despite many efforts, two mothers have died this year adding that both had uterus raptures.

Having identified the causes, officials have embarked on a massive sensitization drive using community health workers to urge the population to use family planning methods and deliver at health facilities.

“Last year, 42.5 % mothers delivered at health facilities, but for the last four months alone, the percentage has grown to 61 percent. We believe that by year end, it will be much higher.”

Jeannette Mukamparirwa, a resident of Rwamagana, delivered her baby girl two weeks ago after a complicated nine months.

Mukamparirwa had a placenta previa problem (a situation where the uterus is lying unusually low in the uterus, next to or covering the cervix) and bled almost throughout the whole pregnancy period.

“My baby would not have been alive if it were not for the special care I was given. I was in terrible condition but the special attention from medics got me through the pregnancy,” she explained as she smiled.

An optimistic Mutaganzwa added that with interventions like performance-based financing, efforts of community health workers and maternal death audits, mortality of mothers will soon be history.

The system is supported by UNFPA, the Global Fund, Lux Development and EGPAF among others.

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