Maternal mortality, birth with a health professional and distance to obstetric care in Indonesia and Bangladesh
To examine the relationship between distance to a health facility, consulting a health professional and maternal mortality.
Retrospective cohort study in Matlab, Bangladesh (1987–2005), to collect data on all pregnancies, births and deaths. In Java, Indonesia (2004–2005), an informant‐based approach indentified maternal deaths and a population‐based survey sampled women who survived birth. Logistic regression was used to examine the influence of distance to a health facility and uptake of a health professional on odds of dying.
Maternal mortality was 320 per 100 000 births (95% CI: 290, 353) in Indonesia and 318 per 100 000 (95% CI: 272, 369) in Bangladesh. Women who lived further from health centres in both countries were less likely to have their births attended by health professionals than those who lived closer. For women who were assisted by a health professional, the odds of dying increased with increasing distance from a health centre [odds ratio per km; Indonesia: 1.07 (95% CI: 1.02–1.11), Bangladesh: 1.47 (95% CI: 1.22–1.78)]. There was no evidence for an association between distance to a health centre and maternal death for women who were not assisted by a health professional.
Even in settings where health services are relatively close to women's homes, distance to a health facility affects maternal mortality for women giving birth with a health professional. Women may only seek professional care in an emergency and may be unable to reach timely care when living far away from a health centre.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: October 1, 2013