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Zolala F, Heidari F, Afshar N, Haghdoost AA
Correspondence: Dr Ali Akbar Haghdoost, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction Maternal mortality is a tragic death, and is perceived as a sensitive indicator of the socioeconomic status and healthcare services in a given country. In this study, the relationship between maternal deaths and factors such as socioeconomic development and the proportion of medical professionals in Iran was examined.
Methods This was an ecological study, where three main groups of data based on different provinces were applied. Data included maternal mortality ratio, the proportion of medical professionals and socioeconomic variables, such as urban residency, unemployment and literacy. Data were obtained from various sources, including census returns, the Family Unit at the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Tehran and the Iran Medical Council. Data were analysed using univariate and multivariate methodologies.
Results Multivariate analysis showed a significant inverse relationship between maternal deaths and variables of male literacy (p < 0.001) and unemployment (p = 0.04). A marginally significant association was also found between maternal deaths and the proportion of midwives (p = 0.09).
Conclusion Our findings underscore the role of literacy, particularly male literacy, in the prevention of maternal deaths. Iran, as a male-dominated society, could benefit from targeting men for training programmes to enhance the health of their families, and ultimately, that of the society. As economic status does play a role in maternal deaths, there is a need to strengthen the financial situation of families. The number of skilled medical personnel available in a population also plays a key role in reducing maternal deaths.
Keywords: literacy, maternal mortality, women’s status
Singapore Med J 2012; 53(10): 684–689