Inequities in resources and preparedness for surgical complications of caesarean section in southern Gauteng hospitals

Salome Maswime, E Buchmann


Background. The number of maternal deaths from bleeding during and after caesarean section (BDACS) has increased in South Africa.
Health-worker training and health-system strengthening are considered important prerequisites for improving maternal health outcomes.
Objectives. To determine preparedness for, and health-system constraints to, safe caesarean section in southern Gauteng hospitals.
Methods. This was a cross-sectional study in 15 hospitals. Data were collected by questionnaire from clinical heads of department in
each hospital.
Results. The 15 hospitals included 5 district hospitals, 7 regional hospitals and 3 central (university academic) hospitals. The number of
deliveries per hospital ranged from 893 to 44 256 for 2013 - 2014, with a total of 201 314 births and 70 095 caesarean sections (34.8%).
Despite similar numbers of births, there were 20 deaths from BDACS at regional hospitals and 6 at central hospitals (p=0.008). Service
delivery constraints included an unequal staff distribution between central hospitals and lower levels of care, as well as non-availability of
essential drugs and a lack of surgical capacity to arrest severe haemorrhage at district and regional hospitals.
Conclusion. The findings of this study reflect inequity in maternity services. Compared with central academic hospitals, district and
regional hospitals are inadequately prepared for the management of complications from BDACS.

Authors' affiliations

Salome Maswime, Wits Obstetrics and Gynaecology Clinical Research Division, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

E Buchmann, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Caesarean section; haemorrhage; inequities; health systems

Cite this article

South African Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2016;22(1):21. DOI:10.7196/sajog.1039

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-10-27
Date published: 2016-09-08

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