Causes, determinants, andtrends in maternal mortality among Palestine refugees during 2000-2010

Author(s) Ali Khader1, Majed Hababeh2, Wafaa Zeidan3, Irshad Shaikh 4, Yousef Shahin 5, Akihiro Seita6, 7, 8
Affiliation(s) 1Health, UNRWA, Amman, Jordan, 2Health, UNRWA, Amman, Jordan, 3Health, UNRWA, Amman, Jordan, 4Health, UNRWA, Amman, Jordan, 5Health, UNRWA, Amman, Jordan, 6health, UNRWA, Amman, Jordan, 7, , , , 8, , ,
Country - ies of focus Palestine
Relevant to the conference tracks Women and Children
Summary Despite the hardship socioeconomic status, the patern of Maternal mortality among palestine refugee population is similar to that among stable midle income countries, A shift was observed during the last decade from causes related to poor obstetric care such as hemorrage and infection to thromboemblic diseases.
Background The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East has for over 60 yearsprovided comprehensive primary health care to 5.2 million Palestine refugees in five fields of operation: Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank. Despite the contextual challenges of chronic instability and poverty, the agency maintains high standards of antenatal care supported with subsidy of delivery in local hospitals, with comprehensive follow up of all registered pregnant women.
During the period 2000-2010 a total of 978,446 pregnant women were registered and followed up through UNRWA antenatal care services. A system to trace the outcome of each pregnancy was established. During the first year (2000) of implementation, 2145 (2.8%) pregnancies were with unknown outcome that was reduced to only 199 (0.2%) cases in 2010 and during this period a total of 230 maternal deaths were reported.
Objectives The aim of this analysis is identify the main causes and determinents of maternal mortality among Palestine refugees women served by UNRWA PHC system
Methodology UNRWA uses the Confidential Maternal Mortality Enquiry method for in-depth investigation of the direct and indirect causes of each maternal death. This retrospective study examines 230 confidential enquiry reports on maternal deaths of Palestine refugee women in five fields of operation during one decade. The confidential enquiry is completed immediately after a maternal mortality. A thorough investigation is conducted by a special committee established to investigate and reoprt on each maternal mortality
Results Analysis of the confidential enquiry reports revealed a maternal mortality ratio of 24/100000 with significant variations among fields (Lebanon and Syria the highest at 34, followed by Gaza and West Bank at 25 and Jordan at 19). 1.8% delivered at home while 14.8% of deaths occurred at home. 53% of them died in hospitals during the intra-post-partum period. 88% received 4 or more antenatal visits. Maternal deaths increased with higher parity. There was a shift in the leading documented causes of maternal deaths from pre-eclampsia and hemorrhage to pulmonary embolism. Thromboembolism was the first cause of death with 41% followed by toxemia and hypertensive disorders at 12, heart diseases at 11.8%, hemorrhage at 10.5% and infection and sepsis at 7.4%
Conclusion Maternal Mortality has plateaued over the last 10 years among Palestine Refugees. We have managed to reduce the deaths from infections, hemorrhage and pregnancy induced hypertension but the deaths from obstetric embolism and medical disorders in pregnancy have either stayed the same or have increased over the years. This can be partially attributed the lack of embolism prophylaxis in high risk cases as well as poor care of high risk women with medical disorders prior to pregnancy

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