Estimates and Correlates of Maternal Mortality in Africa: a focus on Kenya and Mozambique
Nelago I. Indongo, Kefiloe Matsiteng
Statistics, University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia; Statistics, University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

The increasing attention to maternal health has led to much greater demand for maternal mortality estimates at the national and sub-national levels. Methodologies for measuring maternal mortality using census data are developed (Hill et al. 2001) but not applied to data of several countries. This is due to the fact that most of the countries did not collect maternal deaths in their census. Kenya and Mozambique included maternal death questions in their recent censuses. They are also among the countries listed as having maternal mortality ratios of greater than 1000 at one point in time. Country estimates of maternal mortality are needed to inform planning of sexual and reproductive health programmes and to guide advocacy efforts and research at the national level, particularly within the context of the MDGs. It has, however, been a challenge to measure accurately maternal mortality due to lack of reliable maternal mortality data especially in low income countries where vital statistics are often incomplete or do not exist and hospital data may not reflect the actual maternal risk in the community, leading a growing number of countries to turn to sample surveys as a means of measuring maternal mortality. Survey methods which attempt to identify recent maternal deaths in households require large sample sizes because maternal deaths are relatively rare events. The estimation also requires the application of a variety of evaluation methods. For each country, standard evaluation methods were used to assess the completeness of reporting of all female deaths and births. The evaluation of the birth data was carried out using the P/F ratio method, which compares average parity to cumulated current fertility, involves comparing data on births in the year before the census by age of the mother with data on the average numbers of children ever born by women in each age group. The following measures of maternal mortality are therefore estimated: adjusted Maternal Mortality Ratio (per 100 000 live births); adjusted Maternal Mortality Rate (per 1000 women); adjusted Proportion of deaths due to maternal causes and adjusted Lifetime risk of maternal death (per 1000 women). The estimates are compared to the recent DHS maternal mortality estimates.

Keywords: Maternal mortality; Census; Kenya; Mozambique

Biography: Nelago Indongo is a lecturer and a Head of department of Statistics at the University of Namibia. She holds a Master's degree in Social Statistics from the University of Southampton and a PhD in Demography from the University of Pretoria. She has published articles in African Population journal and in Demography India journal. She has also presented papers at various local, regional and international conferences.