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Study Factors Involved in Maternal Deaths Attributed to COVID-19 in a Disadvantaged Area in Southeast of Iran

J Family Reprod Health. 2022 Mar;16(1):67-77. doi: 10.18502/jfrh.v16i1.8596.


Objective: It is a fact that coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) infection mortality rate is high, but the question is “what is the role of other factors in maternal death with COVID-19?” The present study aimed to understand the factors that prevent women from timely use of healthcare services and also the potential weaknesses of the healthcare system that cause the lack of quality healthcare services for women. Materials and methods: This case-series study was performed in the southeast of Iran. In total, 12 cases of maternal deaths attributed to COVID-19 were identified through the Iranian Maternal Mortality Surveillance System. The required information was collected through existing verbal autopsy data sets. In some cases, the family members had to be re-contacted and healthcare workers were asked to supply the missing information. The root cause analysis method was employed for data analysis. Results: From March 2020 to March 2021, the deaths of 12 women were attributed to COVID-19. The majority of these women lived in rural areas (58%) and had a secondary school education level or less (83.3%). The contributing factors were divided into three categories: barriers at the community level (no prenatal care, lack of trust, lack of recognition of the severity of disease, and attribution of symptoms to something else), at the primary health system level, and at the hospital level (fear of staff of being infected, non-compliance with guidelines, lack of team working, and problem with telehealth). Conclusion: The socio-cultural context and unmet healthcare needs hinder the utilization of available services. Moreover, factors at the level of the healthcare system prevent the timely detection and referral of women with COVID-19 to receive quality healthcare services. Using telehealth also did not help to appropriately triage pregnant women.

PMID:35903768 | PMC:PMC9287121 | DOI:10.18502/jfrh.v16i1.8596

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