Are we there yet : investigating the perceived causes of maternal mortalities in KwaNyuswa, Ezinqoleni Municipality.
Vilakazi, Mbali S.
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Are We There Yet: Investigating the perceived causes of maternal mortalities in KwaNyuswa, Ezinqoleni Municipality. Studies conducted within Southern African countries link causes to the absence of the provision of maternal healthcare through accessible healthcare structures. Other factors which perpetuate mortalities are infections deriving from HIV/AIDS, particularly in South Africa and more specifically, within the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Maternal mortalities are, by definition, the death of pregnant women at childbirth or during pregnancy due to various complications. With an annual record showing almost half a million pregnant women dying from causes, some known and others not, it is imperative to conduct this study, which is aimed at investigating causes of maternal mortality from perspectives of communication and culture, particularly within the rural community of KwaNyuswa. In conclusion, pertinent findings gathered through this study reveal that maternal health knowledge is lacking amongst pregnant women and women prior to falling pregnant. This included knowledge on prenatal and antenatal care. Additionally, the fear of HIV-testing acts as a barrier for mothers who seek maternal healthcare. The pregnant women fear testing positive, which then affects their agency meaning programmes such as the prevention from mother to child transfer (PMTCT), which are fully operational in KwaNyuswa. Additionally, traditional birth attendants (TBA) do not exist in this rural community; therefore they cannot be listed as contributing to maternal mortalities in this community. This study indicates that community caregivers act as a source of information and accountability for pregnant women, as they ensure attendance at necessary antenatal care appointments. This investigation revealed more than one child mortality case in the area and that a lack of transportation to healthcare facilities contributes to maternal mortalities. Lastly, inadequate service further disempowers pregnant women’s ability to secure maternal healthcare services. It is recommended that community perceptions around the PMTCT programme and the causes of child mortalities be considered for further investigation. Further, suggestions include a quantitative study which should be conducted in the KwaNyuswa rural area to determine the maternal mortality rate (MMR)