Focus group discussions revealed delay in seeking and reaching emergency care as a factor contributing to maternal mortality in Njikoka Local Government Area. After obstetric services at local hospitals had been upgraded, 48 community contact persons were recruited. They were trained to improve community awareness of obstetric complications and to facilitate referral of women with complications. They were responsible for establishing links with pregnant women, improving access to transport, and mobilizing the community to donate blood. Over 18 months, community contact persons referred 18 women with major obstetric complications for treatment at health facilities. Fifty-two pregnant women were referred for other reasons. A total of 129 women were assisted by the community contact persons. This number declined sharply over time, from 60 in the first half of 1994 to 16 in the first half of 1995. The community contact persons intervention cost approximately US $635, with 64% coming from project funds, 25% from government and 11% from the community. Community contact persons can perform a valuable role in facilitating referral of women with obstetric complications and supporting health education activities.
International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 12/1997; 59 Suppl 2:S219-24.