Most maternal deaths could be prevented if health systems are improved. A recent study has revealed that most maternal deaths occur due to infectious diseases than from conditions directly linked to pregnancy, and that they are preventable.
The study, conducted in Maputo General Hospital Mozambique, between October 2002 and December 2004, found that most maternal deaths were a result of infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, meningitis and pneumonia
During the period, Clara Menendez of the Hospital Clinic/University of Barcelona and colleagues conducted autopsies on 139 women out of 179 maternal deaths.
The single most common cause of death was expected to be haemorrhage, massive blood loss around the time of delivery, reflecting the failure of health systems to provide adequate obstetric care and safe blood transfusion.
However the findings revealed that pregnancy related complications accounted for only 38 pct of deaths contradicting the present view, while infectious diseases not linked to pregnancy accounted for 48 pct of all the deaths.
The researchers suggest that these deaths can be prevented only through implementation of treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and bacterial infections.
Dr Sebastian Lucas, pathologist from Kings College London said that the data would contribute to the debate on the associations between maternal death, HIV and malaria.