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Are we winning? Improving perinatal outcomes at a deeply rural district hospital in South Africa

C Benjamin Gaunt


Zithulele Hospital is a deeply rural district hospital in the Eastern Cape province. Beset by staffing, procurement and infrastructure problems, the maternity service in 2005 was poorly organised and offered an inadequate standard of care. By our estimates, nearly 50% of women were still delivering at home. Three years of effort focused on regular auditing to identify problems and improve our service started to bear fruit in 2008, reflected in significantly increased deliveries and a sharp drop in the perinatal mortality rate. We consider some of the successes, which factors have contributed to them, and some remaining challenges.

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perinatal; mortality; rural health

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2010;100(2):101-104.

Article History

Date submitted: 2009-08-04
Date published: 2010-01-29

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