Reducing Maternal Mortality by Strengthening Community Maternal Support Systems: Findings from a Qualitative Baseline Study in Northern Nigeria

Ekechi Okereke, Susan B. Aradeon, Ibrahim Yisa


The “three delays model” illustrates how issues around obstetric emergency can lead to maternal deaths. This study applied indepth interviews of key community gatekeepers in 16 rural communities across two states in northern Nigeria to evaluate the presence and functionality of key community maternal support systems for reducing maternal mortality. Findings show that only one out of the 16 communities had all the key support systems. Five rural communities reported that pregnant women have standing permission to visit health facilities during obstetric emergencies. A quarter of the communities reported the presence of transport for maternal emergencies. One rural community each reported the existence of community savings for obstetric emergencies and the presence of blood donor groups. Establishing and/or strengthening community support systems, ensuring citizens are well-informed about maternal danger signs and preparing for safe pregnancies can enable communities overcome the delays and reduce maternal mortality especially in low resource settings. (Afr J Reprod Health 2016 (Special Edition); 20[3]: 159-167).

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