Utilisation of Maternal Health Services and its Impact on Maternal Mortality Rate: A Case for KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa





maternal deaths, maternal mortality, delays, antenatal care (ANC), maternal health


Despite several strategies in place in South Africa and globally to prevent maternal mortality and morbidity, maternal deaths remain high, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and lower to middle-income countries. The aim of the study was to identify the challenges that lead to pregnant women’s delays in seeking antenatal care (ANC) early and to find strategies to prevent such delays, contributing to a reduction of maternal deaths in South Africa. The study was conducted in two phases. Phase one analysed data on maternal deaths collected by the District Health Information System (DHIS) of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health from all 11 districts over a 10-year period (2009–2019). The data on maternal deaths revealed that there was a very high maternal mortality rate; between 800 and 1 780 per 100 000 live births. This correlated with very low antenatal visits; between 695–895 per 100 000 live births. In phase two, a literature review was conducted using several computer-assisted databases, bibliographies and websites to identify and source current policies. The literature review presents causes of delay in seeking ANC and strategies to prevent maternal deaths. Recommendations were made to consider strengthening education and awareness related to family planning; women empowerment through community health programmes and change in healthcare providers’ behaviours and attitudes; ensuring availability of maternal health resources; and developing strategies to ensure that the ANC services delivered are in line with the South African Department of Health Guidelines.


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How to Cite

Naranjee, Nellie, Vasanthrie Naidoo, Suresh B. N. Krishna, Champaklal C. Jinabhai, and Maureen N. Sibiya. 2023. “Utilisation of Maternal Health Services and Its Impact on Maternal Mortality Rate: A Case for KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa”. Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery 25 (2):18 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/2520-5293/14062.



Received 2023-07-06
Accepted 2023-09-21
Published 2023-10-19