10 maternal deaths at GPHC this year; 303 critically ill women saved

There were 10 maternal deaths recorded at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Guyana’s main referral hospital, for the year so far.

This is according to the hospital’s Chief Consultant Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dr. Rafi Rozan, who spoke at the GPHC’s end-of-year press conference on Thursday.

Dr. Rozan offered insights into his department’s work for the year. The Obstetrics and Gynaecology department, he said, accounts for up to about 40% of all of the hospital’s staff.

This year, he said there were about 15 to 30 babies delivered daily and an overall total of 4,860 deliveries (including 1,569 caesarean section deliveries).

However, there were 10 maternal deaths.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a maternal death is the death of a woman during pregnancy or within 42 days of the termination of pregnancy.

Dr Rafi Rozan

Dr. Rozan, however, noted that figure is fewer than the number of deaths in previous years.

“… as compared from the two previous years, there would’ve been a decline (in the number of maternal deaths),” Dr. Rozan said.

Earlier this year, the News Room reported that there were 17 maternal deaths at the GPHC and across the country.

Dr. Rozan also noted that six of the 10 patients who eventually died this year were referred to the GPHC from other hospitals in a critical state; some of them were from outlying regions.

Three women, Dr. Rozan revealed, died due to ectopic pregnancies, three died due to respiratory disorders, another three died of hypertensive conditions during their pregnancies and the final woman faced a hypovolemic shock after her c-section.

These were all high-risk cases but Dr. Rozan pointed out that over 300 women, in critical conditions, were saved throughout the year.

Any woman who was facing a high-risk pregnancy but survived due to the care received is classified as a “maternal near miss.” Dr. Rozan said the hospital saw 303 ‘near miss’ cases.

“303 patients could have died but they obviously survived,” he said.

The Chief Consultant also revealed that there were 54 stillbirths this year so far. The WHO defines a stillbirth as a baby who dies after 28 weeks of pregnancy but before or during birth.

During an interview with the News Room last week, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony said new operating theatres, better-equipped hospitals and health centres in the hinterland regions, the creation of maternal waiting homes and new training programmes for health workers are among the interventions being pursued by the Ministry of Health to improve maternal care in Guyana.