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Nearly 15% of all pregnancies end in fatal perinatal obstetric complications including bleeding, infections, hypertension, obstructed labor, and complications of abortion. Between 1990 and 2015, an estimated 10.7 million women died due to obstetric complications. Almost all of these deaths (99%) happened in developing countries, and 66% of maternal deaths were attributed to sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of cases of maternal mortalities can be prevented through provision of evidence-based potentially life-saving signal functions of emergency obstetric care. However, different factors can hinder women’s ability to access and use emergency obstetric services in sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, the aim of this review is to synthesize current evidence on barriers to accessing and utilizing emergency obstetric care in sub-Saharan African. Decision-makers and policy formulators will use evidence generated from this review in improving maternal healthcare particularly the emergency obstetric care.
Electronic databases including MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, and Maternity and Infant Care will be searched for studies using predefined search terms. Articles published in English language between 2010 and 2017 with quantitative and qualitative design will be included. The identified papers will be assessed for meeting eligibility criteria. First, the articles will be screened by examining their titles and abstracts. Then, two reviewers will review the full text of the selected articles independently. Two reviewers using a standard data extraction format will undertake data extraction from the retained studies. The quality of the included papers will be assessed using the mixed methods appraisal tool. Results from the eligible studies will be qualitatively synthesized using the narrative synthesis approach and reported using the three delays model. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses checklist will be employed to present the findings.
This systematic review will present a detailed synthesis of the evidence for barriers to access and utilization of emergency obstetric care in sub-Saharan Africa over the last 7 years. This systematic review is expected to provide clear information that can help in designing maternal health policy and interventions particularly in emergency obstetric care in sub-Saharan Africa where maternal mortality remains high.
Systematic review registration