Family Medicine Publications

Levels and determinants of maternal mortality in northern and southern Nigeria

Document Type


Publication Date



BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth





URL with Digital Object Identifier



Background: Maternal mortality is still a major risk for women of childbearing age in Nigeria. In 2008, Nigeria bore 14% of the global burden of maternal mortality. The national maternal mortality ratio has remained elevated despite efforts to reduce maternal deaths. Though health disparities exist between the North and South of Nigeria, there is a dearth of evidence on the estimates and determinants of maternal mortality for these regions. Methods: This study aimed to assess differences in the levels and determinants of maternal mortality in women of childbearing age (15-49 years) in the North and South of Nigeria. The Nigeria Demographic and Health Surveys (2008 and 2013) were used. The association between maternal mortality (outcome) and relevant sociocultural, economic and health factors was tested using multivariable logistic regression in a sample of 51,492 living or deceased women who had given birth. Results: There were variations in the levels of maternal mortality between the two regions. Maternal mortality was more pronounced in the North and increased in 2013 compared to 2008. For the South, the levels slightly decreased. Media exposure and education were associated with maternal mortality in the North while contraceptive method, residence type and wealth index were associated with maternal death in the South. In both regions, age and community wealth were significantly associated with maternal mortality. Conclusions: Differences in the levels and determinants of maternal mortality between the North and South of Nigeria stress the need for efforts to cut maternal deaths through new strategies that are relevant for each region. These should improve education of girls in the North and access to health information and services in the South. Overall, new policies to improve women's socioeconomic status should be adopted.

This document is currently not available here.