Maternal death Investigation in Voinjama District

A maternal death which occurred in Karzaa community on June 25, 2016, was reported by the general Community Health Volunteer (gCHV). A maternal review team investigated the event to establish the cause of death and make recommendation for appropriate public health action.

The maternal review team commenced their investigation on June 27, 2016. The team which includes the district surveillance officer of Voinjama District (Graduate of Liberia FETP Frontline) interviewed community leaders, friends, and gCHVs to gather information surrounding the event. The techniques used were interviews and group discussion. A member of the community served as an interpreter for the interviews and discussions. Hospital records were reviewed at Tellewoyan Clinic. Findings were assessed to establish the possible cause of death.


The deceased was a 20 year old junior high school student from Karzaa community who was residing with a friend in Telbormai community. According to the persons interviewed, she was from a poor background and was dependent on her boyfriend and friends. The boyfriend traveled to Guinea four months ago with bridge in communication. She ended up getting pregnant for someone else which she was not able to clearly identify who got her pregnant. Hospital records indicated that she was 8 weeks of gestational age (Gravida 2, Para 1, Alive 1).

She attempted to abort the pregnancy on hearing that the boyfriend is returning from Guinea. She was encouraged by her girlfriend to abort the pregnancy using local herbs commonly known as “RPG” (Rocket propelled grenade). The deceased took the herbal medicine on the evening of June 22, 2016 and developed severe abdominal cramps with bleeding on the 24 June 2016 in the night. She died on June 25, 2016 at 12:00am in Karzaa community opposite Free Pentecostal Church while she was going to the friend that recommended the “RPG”.


The possible cause of death established by the investigation team was Hemorrhage and Sepsis from unsafe abortion secondary to unwanted pregnancy. Contributing factors were depression and use of “RPG” which might have contained some toxins. The limitation of this review was that no post-mortem was done to establish the cause of death. The friend who recommended the herbal medication was apprehended by the police where she admitted the allegations.


Reproductive Health awareness should be carried out in various communities to stop unsafe abortion. This should include the use of contraceptives to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Public Health Action

  • Conducted reproductive health awareness in all communities through radio talk show to stop unsafe abortion
  • Emphasized on the use of contraceptives to avoid unwanted pregnancies