Background: In September 2000, the Heads of States of the 191 countries of the United Nations approved the Millennium Declaration in which reduction of pregnancy-related deaths to a quarter by 2015 was one of its goals. However, before the middle of the first decade of this millennium, there were no reports on the status of maternal mortality in Maroua, Cameroon.
Objective: The aim of this study was to establish baseline data on maternal mortality for future evaluation of pregnancy-related mortality trends in this city.
Subjects and Methods: Maternal deaths that occurred from 2003 to 2005 in Maroua City, Cameroon, were analyzed. Mortality ratios were determined by comparing the number of the deaths related to pregnancy with that of women with safe deliveries. Mortality risks were determined by comparing the characteristics of women with pregnancy-related deaths to those of women with safe deliveries.
Results: The overall maternal mortality ratio was 1266 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births. The leading causes of death were hypertension (17.5%), obstetric infections (14.3%), uterine rupture (14.3%), anaemia (12.7%) and HIV complications (9.5%). Among the women who died, 28.6% were teenagers and 14.3% were at their sixth delivery (or above). Compared with women aged 20 to 24 years, those aged 25 to 29 years were more than twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes (HR: 2.34; CI: 1.07,5.08; p = 0.029). A similar trend was also found in those aged 30 to 34 years (HR: 2.26; CI: 1.02,5.00; p = 0.042).
Conclusion: The findings suggest that Maternal Mortality Ratio in Maroua, City, Cameroon, is very high. Since most of the causes of death were preventable, we propose that the current maternal and Family Planning strategies be reviewed with the view to reducing the current trend. Such a strategy would enable the Maroua city to meet the Millennium goals by 2015.