A decade after the first International Conference on Safe Motherhood, maternal mortality remains very high in most West African countries, even in capital cities. The detection of high risk pregnancies, known as the risk approach, during antenatal consultations has been the basis of most maternal and child health programmes over the last decade. The effectiveness of antenatal care as a tool to prevent or predict obstetric complications is being questioned more and more. In addition to the scarcity of reliable data about the predictivity of most risk factors, the quality of the screening must be questioned. The goal of this study was to assess the frequency of risk factors among a sample of pregnant women attending antenatal care in Niger and to assess the quality of the screening of those risk factors.
Overall, 330 pregnant women were enrolled in the study. Each woman was examined twice: the first time by a midwife, the second time by one of the authors but without knowledge of the results of the first consultation. Fifty-five percent of pregnant women had at least one risk factor, 31% had more than one. Ninety-one percent of the risk factors were detected at interview. The following risk factors were not systematically searched for by midwives: height (48.5%), blood pressure (43.6%), glycosuria (40.6%), vaginal bleeding (38.2%), oedema (37.3%), parity (17%), age (16%), previous caesarean section (15.2%), previous stillbirth (15.2%) and previous miscarriages (14.8%). This study has shown that, in Niger, the quality of screening for risk factors during antenatal consultation is poor. In the urban settings where this study took place, lack of personnel, lack of equipment, lack of time and poor compliance by women cannot be made responsible for this situation. While screening of these risk factors continues as policy, the quality of screening must be dramatically improved.
Journal Article. 0 words.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology
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