Cause of death by verbal autopsy among women of reproductive age in Rajasthan, India
Background: Reliable data on mortality and morbidity among women of reproductive age are scarce in India. The present study is the Rajasthan component of a large multi-centric study on cause of death by verbal autopsy conducted in five states of India. The data pertaining to deaths among women of reproductive age are presented.
Methods: House-to-house surveys of a representative population from rural and urban areas in six districts of Rajasthan were undertaken by Probability of Proportion to Size (PPS) sampling. Information on death was obtained from the relatives of the deceased and cause of death was assigned using the standardized algorithm prepared for the purpose. International Classification of Diseases - ICD-10 was used to code the assigned cause of death.
Results: A total of 231 deaths of women of reproductive age were investigated, of which 36 (16%) were maternal deaths while 195 (84%) were non-maternal deaths. Nine out of ten maternal deaths were in rural area.
Conclusions: Certain infectious and parasitic diseases; pregnancy, childbirth and the puerpurium; injury, poisoning and other consequences of external causes; and symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings not elsewhere classified were found to be the major killers among the women of reproductive age. A comprehensive approach that includes in addition to reproductive health interventions, interventions addressing underlying illiteracy among women and social reforms needs to be undertaken.
Keywords: Maternal deaths, Non-maternal deaths, Women of reproductive age, Verbal autopsy
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