Estimating Maternal Mortality Level in Rural Northern Nigeria by the Sisterhood MethodReport as inadecuate

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International Journal of Population ResearchVolume 2012 2012, Article ID 464657, 5 pages

Research Article

Department of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 60 Haven Avenue, Suite B2, New York, NY 10032, USA

Partnership for Reviving Routine Immunization in Northern Nigeria PRRINN; Maternal, Newborn and Child Health MNCH Program, Nassarawa GRA, Kano State, Nigeria

Received 23 March 2012; Revised 26 July 2012; Accepted 10 August 2012

Academic Editor: Kristin L. Dunkle

Copyright © 2012 Henry V. Doctor et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Maternal mortality is one of the major challenges to health systems in sub Saharan Africa. This paper estimates the lifetime risk of maternal death and maternal mortality ratio MMR in four states of Northern Nigeria. Data from a household survey conducted in 2011 were utilized by applying the “sisterhood method” for estimating maternal mortality. Female respondents 15–49 years were interviewed thereby creating a retrospective cohort of their sisters who reached the reproductive age of 15 years. A total of 3,080 respondents reported 7,731 maternal sisters of which 593 were reported dead and 298 of those dead were maternal-related deaths. This corresponded to a lifetime risk of maternal death of 9% referring to a period about 10.5 years prior to the survey and an MMR of 1,271 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births; 95% CI was 1,152–1,445 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. The study calls for improvement of the health system focusing on strategies that will accelerate reduction in MMR such as availability of skilled birth attendants, access to emergency obstetrics care, promotion of facility delivery, availability of antenatal care, and family planning. An accelerated reduction in MMR in the region will contribute towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal of maternal mortality reduction in Nigeria.

Author: Henry V. Doctor, Sally E. Findley, and Godwin Y. Afenyadu



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