Stairway to Death: Maternal Mortality beyond Numbers

This 2013 paper presents key findings from the analysis of 23 maternal deaths which occurred between April 2011 and March 2012 in two blocks of the Godda district of Jharkhand (India).

The qualitative study on which this paper is based aimed at recording maternal deaths at the local level as well as identifying the non-medical factors that contributed to these deaths. Improper and multiple referrals, absence of easily accessible and quality emergency obstetric care, lack of transport facilities and high out-of-pocket expenditure were key factors contributing to delays at multiple levels – delays in seeking care, reaching the health facility and receiving adequate care.

This study thus shows how reviewing maternal deaths can highlight a range of non-medical factors which all contribute towards preventable maternal mortality, and need to be addressed in policy and practice.

Banerjee, S., John, P., & Singh, S. (2013). Stairway to Death: Maternal Mortality beyond Numbers. Economic and Political Weekly, 48(31). (subscription of payment required)