Date of Conferral





Public Health


Patrick Tschida


In Africa, especially Nigeria, maternal mortality is a public health issue among women of childbearing age (WCBA). WCBA living in the Ekpeye community located in Rivers state in Nigeria are at high risk of maternal deaths during pregnancy and labor or delivery. Data were obtained through key informant interviews with 9 relatives, friends, and health workers. The purpose of the key informant interviews was to identify perceived barriers that result in high maternal deaths and facilitators seen as promoters to reduce pregnancy-related deaths. The participants identified 11 core themes as contributors to maternal death: (a) postpartum death, (b) financial insecurity, (c) health system capacity/infrastructure, (d) quality of care, (e) transportation barriers, (f) cultural integrity, (g) mental health, (h) trauma, (i) inadequate government role, (j) social determinants of health, and (k) other determinants of life challenges. The facilitators are linked to increased awareness, education, avoidance of negative aspects of the culture, and availability of essential resources on a continuum. Based on the results of this study, if maternal tool kits were distributed to pregnant women and WCBA, it may increase their knowledge of vulnerability and risks. The benefits of the toolkits are improved access to basic medical supplies; improved knowledge of risks and importance of antenatal care and self-care seeking behaviors; and prevention of potential harm to the baby. The integrations of these public health best practices on a consistent basis could improve health for both WCBA and children and increase perinatal and antenatal care to optimize positive birth outcomes.