Analysis of the factors contributing to maternal mortality in Uganda
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Maternal mortality is defined by the World Health Organisation as the death of a woman during pregnancy, childbirth or within 42 days of childbirth irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes. Currently, maternal mortality ratio in Uganda for women aged 15-49 is 368 deaths per 100,000 live births (UBOS, 2021). This is a reduction from the 438 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2011, but still a high value. A lot of research has been conducted on the causes of maternal mortality, but few highlight the socio-demographic causes. This study aimed at assessing the factors contributing to maternal mortality in Uganda focusing on the demographic characteristics. More specifically, the study determined the effect of mother’s age, highest education level and place of residence on maternal deaths in Uganda. The 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) secondary data was utilized in this study. The focus was mainly on women in the reproductive age group 15-49 years. The respondents enumerated for this study were 18,506 women from all regions in Uganda. The information was obtained using the sisterhood method where the respondents were asked on the survival status of their adult sisters. It was based on the question in the UDHS questionnaire, ‘did the mother die due to a pregnancy related condition?’ The analysis of data was done at Univariate, Bivariate and Multivariate stages using STATA version 15. At Univariate level, the study revealed that most of the mothers (62%) lived in rural areas, aged 15-22 years (37%) and had attained a primary education (42%), and a secondary education (47.7%). Bivariate analysis showed that place of residence, age and highest education level significantly influenced maternal deaths in Uganda because their significance values were less than the threshold value (p=0.05). On testing these variables at multivariate level, the study revealed that 68% of the dependent variable is explained by the independent variables that is age, education level of mother and area of residence of mother. The study also included some recommendations that should be considered to reduce on maternal mortality in Uganda like training of more birth attendants that work in the health facilities and subsidising education in order to encourage more girls to go to school.