MamaYe, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), recently supported maternal death review (MDR) meetings in Bonthe and Koinadugu districts.
Maternal death review meetings are a platform for health workers to share and investigate the causes of maternal deaths, identify lapses in the management of cases, and bring out attainable solutions to prevent future maternal deaths from similar causes.
These meetings were also an opportunity to introduce the new Maternal Death Surveillance and Response (MDSR) National Technical Guidelines recently launched by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in July 2015.
Four maternal death cases from May to mid-August 2015 were reviewed with technical support from the lead MDR Investigator, Dr. Michael Koroma, from the Reproductive Health and Family Planning Directorate at the MoHS.
Participants were briefed on the new MDSR guidelines by Dr. Mugume from UNFPA.
The good news is that the MDR committee in Koinadugu is doing well and they regularly meet to discuss any reported maternal deaths. For example, one of the cases reviewed in Kabala had already been discussed by the district MDR committee prior to the meeting.
The MDR focal point person Hannah Palmer has also ensured that notification forms are completed for every reported maternal death and that these forms are submitted for review by the MDR committee on an ongoing basis.
Unfortunately, no MDR meeting had been conducted in Bonthe since the last meeting. The MDR focal point person in Bonthe, District Sister Zainab Bangura, explained that this was because the district does not have the financial and logistical support to conduct MDR meetings.
However, the district has made tremendous efforts to meet most of the action points outlined in the last stakeholder meeting supported by MamaYe.
A further challenge in Bonthe district is monitoring the deaths of pregnant women who are referred to other districts, such as the riverine communities closer to Pujehun.
It was agreed that the DHMT should clarify who is responsible for reporting, recording and reviewing these deaths to help save the lives of mothers in the future.