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Maternal mortality in a Kenyan pastoralist population

Publication Date
  • Hq The Family. Marriage. Woman
  • Hn Social History And Conditions. Social Problems. Social Reform
  • Gn Anthropology


Objective: to measure maternal mortality among the Gabbra, a group of nomadic pastoralists living in a remote area of Kenya. Method: as part of a survey of 851 households information on the number of sisters of respondents who died of pregnancy-related causes was collected, and this data was used to calculate maternal mortality statistics using the sisterhood (an indirect) method. Results: the maternal mortality ratio for this population is 599 deaths per 100,000 births (95% confidence intervals 424, 775). The lifetime risk of dying around childbirth is 1 in 30, and the proportion of ever-married sisters under 50 years of age who died from maternal causes is 0.48 (95% confidence intervals 0.38, 0.58). Conclusion: the risk of dying of maternal causes is high in this population.

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