n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - Magnitude of maternal mortality in South Africa : views from South African experts

Volume 18 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1682-5055


High maternal mortality ratios (MMRs) remain a major challenge to health systems worldwide. Developing countries account for more than 99% of the estimated maternal deaths worldwide. The South African MMR is of particular concern because of the perceived underestimation of maternal deaths. The absence of comprehensive information about maternal deaths means misguided decision-making on health provision to improve outcomes. It is within this premise that the author seeks to unravel the perspectives from South African experts on the magnitude of the South African MMR. Data was collected as part of a larger study here qualitative face-to-face interviews were held with six (6) experts in the field of reproductive health. The data was analysed using the WHO's Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) framework. The findings confirmed that under-reporting of community maternal deaths was an underlying factor in the underestimation of the South African MMR. Robust strategies to collect comprehensive, reliable and consistent estimates are needed to develop focused interventions for handling maternal deaths.

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