Original Research

Identifying avoidable causes of perinatal deaths in a district hospital in Lesotho

Rose Nonyane, Emmerentia du Plessis, Jeannette Clase
Curationis | Vol 47, No 1 | a2497 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v47i1.2497 | © 2024 Rose Nonyane, Emmerentia du Plessis, Jeannette Clase | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 May 2023 | Published: 29 February 2024

About the author(s)

Rose Nonyane, NuMIQ / School of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Emmerentia du Plessis, NuMIQ / School of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Jeannette Clase, NuMIQ / School of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Certain determinants can be associated with avoidable perinatal deaths, and audits are needed to establish what these determinants are, and what can be done to prevent such deaths.

Objectives: The study aimed at identifying and describing determinants associated with avoidable perinatal deaths at a district hospital in Lesotho and strategies to curb their occurrence.

Method: A retrospective descriptive study was conducted using 142 anonymised obstetric records from January 2018 to December 2020. A data collection tool was adopted from the Perinatal Problem Identification Programme. In this tool, avoidable determinants are referred to as ‘factors’ or ‘problems’.

Results: A concerning number of perinatal deaths were secondary to avoidable patient factors, namely a delay in seeking medical care, inappropriate responses to antepartum haemorrhage, and inadequate responses to poor foetal movements. Medical personnel factors are also worth observing, namely incorrect use of partograph, insufficient notes to comment on avoidable factors and ‘other’ medical personnel problems. Ranking highest among administrative problems were the unavailability of intensive care unit beds and ventilators and inadequate resuscitation equipment. Administrative problems accounted for more perinatal deaths than the patient-related factors and medical personnel factors.

Conclusion: There is an urgent need for periodic audits, health education for patients, staff competency and the necessary equipment to resuscitate neonates.

Contribution: Avoidable determinants associated with perinatal deaths in a district hospital in Lesotho could be identified. This information provides an understanding of what can be done to limit avoidable perinatal deaths.


Keywords

female; hospitals; district; perinatal deaths; pregnancy; preventable; retrospective studies

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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