Little progress is being made in improving maternal health in many countries amidst lack of reliable data. This paper aims at estimating the burden and causes of maternal mortality in two slums under the Nairobi urban health and demographic surveillance system. Causes of death are arrived at using a verbal autopsy (VA). Health facility records were also reviewed to assess mortality. Only 21% of maternal deaths had a delivery with help of a health professional. There were 29 maternal deaths representing maternal mortality ratio of 557/100,000. This estimate is higher than the national estimate of 414/100,000 by KDHS of 2003. There were 22 late maternal deaths mainly due to HIV/AIDS. Abortion complications, hemorrhage, sepsis, eclampsia and ruptured uterus are the major causes irrespective of source of data. Due consideration needs to be given to late maternal deaths in all estimates especially in areas with high prevalence of HIV.
Population Association of America (PAA) Conference in New Orleans, USA 17-19 April 2008, 14 pp.