Women's Autonomy and Maternal Mortality: A Study of Awka Community, Awka South LGA, Anambra State

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Nwanna, C
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The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between women's autonomy and maternal mortality in Awka community, Anambra State. It is a population-based study conducted between November and December 2001. It adopted an innovative approach by combining sisterhood, widowhood, neighbourhood/friends and household history methods to collect data from a multistage systematic random sample of 1,400 men and women of reproductive age. Men were included because the researcher sought to know the interplay of power relations within the family as they affected maternal health. Data were collected through interviews and focus group discussions. Comparative and percentage analyses were used to analyze and interpret the data. The results demonstrated that 114 maternal deaths were isolated to have occurred from 1996 to 2000, the period under study with a maternal mortality ratio of 1,592 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2000. The respondents consisted of 43 males and 71females. The deceased women would not have traveled on their own to seek healthcare, attend antenatal care (ANC) nor seek routine delivery without the permission of their husbands. At 0.01 significant level and with contingency coefficients of between 0.64 and 0.73 the relationship was strong. Therefore there is a significant relationship between women's autonomy in Awka and maternal mortality. The lower the autonomy of women the higher the ratio of maternal mortality. Recommended, among others, were enlightenment campaigns and education for men to sensitize them on the effects of gender inequity on maternal health.
Maternal mortality , Awka, Anambra State , Reproductive age , Family , Maternal health , Women , Education , Autonomy
Nwanna, C. (2002). Women's Autonomy and Maternal Mortality: A Study of Awka Community, Awka South LGA, Anambra State. Paper presented At the 3rd NAWACS International Conference Holding at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.