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Effectiveness of community based interventions in reducing maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review

Effectiveness of community based interventions in reducing maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review

Orjingene, O. and Morgan, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-6218-7593 (2020) Effectiveness of community based interventions in reducing maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review. International Journal of TROPICAL DISEASE & Health (IJTDH), 41 (9). pp. 9-21. ISSN 2278-1005 (Online) (doi:

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Background & Aim:
Maternal mortality ratio for sub- Saharan Africa in 2010 was estimated to be about 600 per 100,000 live births, which is approximately higher than what is obtainable in advanced countries. To this end, several community-based interventions have been put in place by governments and developmental partners in the region to address the situation. This review aimed to seek evidence from existing literature on the level of effectiveness of these interventions in improving maternal health outcomes in the region. The literature search process resulted in retrieval of six full text studies that were written in English, published between 2000 and 2019 and were focused on intervention based at the community level which resulted in the reduction of maternal deaths in some sub-Saharan African countries. The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) tool was used to critically review retrieved literature.

Findings from the articles reviewed show that community based interventions with direct reduction on maternal mortality were implemented in Ethiopia and Nigeria and were effective since maternal mortality declined by 64% and 43.5% respectively. Other community based interventions did not directly address reduction in maternal mortality but rather addressed leading causes of maternal mortality such as home and unskilled birth attendance, low Ante-Natal Care (ANC) & Post-Natal Care (PNC) services utilization, Eclampsia, delay in accessing care and Postpartum Hemorrhage (PPH). Such interventions were implemented in Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo and were proved to be effective in reducing maternal mortality.

Conclusions and Recommendations:
Based on the literatures reviewed, it was concluded that community based interventions were effective in reducing maternal mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. The following recommendations were made based on gaps observed in the implementation of some interventions. Introduction of emergency transport scheme in countries where they do not exist as despite the existence of maternity waiting homes and dedicated maternity ambulances in Zambia, many expectant mothers still had difficulty reaching the health facilities in time to deliver, Engagement and training of more health workers so as to avoid human resources challenges that may be associated with increased demand for health facility deliveries.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 Orjingene and Morgan; This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Uncontrolled Keywords: Maternal mortality, interventions, Sub-Saharan Africa
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2021 13:16
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None

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