The burden of severe maternal outcomes and indicators of quality of maternal care in Nigerian hospitals: a secondary analysis comparing two large facility-based surveys

J.P. Vogel, B. Fawole, A.S. Adeniran, O. Adegbola, O.T. Oladapo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Objective: To compare severe maternal outcomes (SMOs) from two multi-centre surveys in Nigerian hospitals, and to evaluate how the SMO burden affects quality of secondary and tertiary hospital care. Design: Two facility-based surveys of women experiencing SMO (maternal near-miss or maternal deaths). Setting: Sixteen secondary and five tertiary facilities in Nigeria [WHO Multi-Country Survey on Maternal and Newborn Health (WHOMCS)] and 42 public tertiary facilities in Nigeria (Nigeria Near-Miss and Maternal Death Survey). Population: 371 women in WHOMCS-Nigeria and 2449 women in Nigeria Near-Miss and Maternal Death Survey who experienced SMO. Methods: Secondary analysis and comparison of SMO data from two surveys, stratified by facility level. Main outcome measures: Maternal mortality ratio (MMR) per 100 000 livebirths (LB), maternal near-miss (MNM) ratio per 1000 LB, SMO ratio per 1000 LB and mortality index (deaths/SMO). Results: Maternal mortality ratio and mortality indices were highest in tertiary facilities of the WHOMCS-Nigeria (706 per 100 000; 26.7%) and the Nigeria Near-Miss and Maternal Death Survey (1088 per 100 000; 40.8%), and lower in secondary facilities of the WHOMCS-Nigeria (593 per 100 000; 17.9%). The MNM ratio and SMO ratio were highest in secondary WHOMCS-Nigeria facilities (27.2 per 1000 LB; 33.1 per 1000 LB). Conclusions: Tertiary-level facilities in Nigeria experience unacceptably high maternal mortality rates, but secondary-level facilities had a proportionately higher burden of severe maternal outcomes. Common conditions with a high mortality index (postpartum haemorrhage, eclampsia, and infectious morbidities) should be prioritised for action. Surveillance using SMO indicators can guide quality improvement efforts and assess changes over time. Tweetable abstract: 2820 Nigerian women with severe maternal outcomes: high mortality in tertiary level hospitals, higher burden in secondary level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-57
Number of pages9
JournalBJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue numberS3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Maternal death
  • maternal health
  • maternal near-miss
  • quality of care
  • severe maternal outcome

Cite this