Praying for Divine Intervention: The Reality of “The Three Delays” in Northern Nigeria

Praying for Divine Intervention: The Reality of “The Three Delays” in Northern Nigeria

BM Tukur, U Bawa, K Odogwu, S Adaji, P Passano, I Suleiman

 

Abstract

This paper describes how pregnant women in three northern Nigerian communities responded to maternal complications that occurred outside of a hospital setting. The sample consisted of 322 women who had recently delivered, of which 15% had at least one complication. Thirty-seven percent of women described antepartum or postpartum haemorrhage. Over 60% of women went to a health care facility, but 35% first tried herbal remedies and another 20% simply waited for their husband to return. The median interval between recognizing the problem and deciding to seek help was two hours. It took approximately one to two hours to reach the hospital and upon arrival, most respondents got care in one to two hours. Rural communities clearly have their own hierarchy of appropriate actions in the face of a household emergency which need to be understood in order to develop creative intervention strategies to reduce unnecessary risks to the life of a mother (Afr. J. Reprod. Health 2010; 14[3]: 113-119).

Key words: Maternal mortality, obstetric emergency, three delays, obstetric complications, actions taken.