Research

An evaluation of the perinatal mortality surveillance system in Gwanda District, Matabeleland South Province, Zimbabwe

P T Mundagowa, P T Chimberengwa, E Chadambuka

Abstract


Background. A preliminary review of perinatal mortality surveillance data (January - August 2017) suggested an under-reporting of perinatal deaths in Gwanda District, Matabeleland South.

Objective. To evaluate the effectiveness of the perinatal mortality surveillance system in Gwanda District, Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe.

Methods. This descriptive cross-sectional study interviewed 50 healthcare workers employed in the district using pretested intervieweradministered questionnaires. The sample was drawn from 16 randomly selected healthcare facilities. Records for perinatal mortality cases were reviewed and data were analysed.

Results. Only 32% of healthcare workers knew the case definition of perinatal death. Approximately two-thirds of participants (68%) knew who should complete notification forms and ~half (52%) of the respondents cited fear of blame as the reason for a low perinatal death report rate in the district. Although 50% of participants reporting having participated in perinatal death reviews and 78% reporting using the data for planning community health programmes, there was no recorded evidence in support. Perinatal mortality case notification forms were not in stock at 13 of the 16 sampled healthcare facilities.

Conclusion. Poor knowledge of the perinatal mortality surveillance system was found among participants. The low reporting rate suggests that the system does not function effectively in the district. Healthcare workers feared blame, which suggests management intervention is required to create a trusted reporting environment.


Authors' affiliations

P T Mundagowa, College of Health Sciences, Department of Clinical Research Centre, Africa University, Mutare, Zimbabwe

P T Chimberengwa, Ministry of Health and Child Care, Gwanda Provincial Hospital, Gwanda, Zimbabwe

E Chadambuka, College of Health Sciences, Department of Clinical Research Centre, Africa University, Mutare, Zimbabwe

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Cite this article

South African Journal of Child Health 2020;14(2):82-86. DOI:10.7196/SAJCH.2020.v14i2.01659

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-07-07
Date published: 2020-07-07

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