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Misclassified maternal deaths among east african immigrants in Sweden
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2007 (English)In: Reproductive health matters, ISSN 0968-8080, E-ISSN 1460-9576, Vol. 15, no 30, 153-162 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Western countries have reported an increased risk of maternal mortality among African immigrants. This study aimed to identify cases of maternal mortality among immigrants from the Horn of Africa living in Sweden using snowball sampling, and verify whether they had been classified as maternal deaths in the Cause of Death Registry. Three “locators” contacted immigrants from Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia to identify possible cases of maternal mortality. Suspected deaths were scrutinised through verbal autopsy and medical records. Confirmed instances, linked by country of birth, were compared with Registry statistics. We identified seven possible maternal deaths of which four were confirmed in medical records, yet only one case had been classified as such in the Cause of Death Registry. At least two cases, a significant number, seemed to be misclassified. The challenges of both cultural and medical competence for European midwives and obstetricians caring for non-European immigrant mothers should be given more attention, and the chain of information regarding maternal deaths should be strengthened. We propose a practice similar to the British confidential enquiry into maternal deaths. In Sweden, snowball sampling was valuable for contacting immigrant communities for research on maternal mortality; by strengthening statistical validity, it can contribute to better maternal health policy in a multi-ethnic society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 15, no 30, 153-162 p.
Keyword [en]
maternal mortality, research methodology, misclassification of deaths, migration, Horn of Africa, Sweden
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-12037DOI: 10.1016/S0968-8080(07)30322-4ISI: 000251095400015PubMedID: 17938080OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-12037DiVA: diva2:39806
Available from: 2007-11-19 Created: 2007-11-19 Last updated: 2011-01-17Bibliographically approved

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Essén, Birgitta
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Department of Women's and Children's Health
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