Continuing Medical Education

Improving adolescent maternal health

Cheryl Baxter, Dhayendre Moodley


Each year thousands of adolescent girls and young women in South Africa (SA) become pregnant and many die from complications related
to pregnancy and childbirth. Although women of all ages are susceptible, girls <15 years of age are five times as likely, and those aged 15 - 19 years
twice as likely, to die from complications related to childbirth than women in their 20s. In SA, non-pregnancy-related infections (e.g. HIV), obstetric
haemorrhage and hypertension contributed to almost 70% of avoidable maternal deaths. In addition to the implementation of standardised
preventive interventions to reduce obstetric haemorrhage and hypertension, better reproductive health services for adolescents, access
to HIV care and treatment for women infected with HIV, and improved access to and uptake of long-acting reversible contraception are
important ingredients for reducing maternal mortality among adolescents.

Authors' affiliations

Cheryl Baxter, Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Dhayendre Moodley, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Adolescent; Maternal; Health

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2015;105(11):948-952. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2015.v105i11.10126

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-09-29
Date published: 2015-10-07

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