Maternal Mortality at the Community Level: An Innovative Approach to Measurement
Ndola Prata, University of California, Berkeley
Caitlin Gerdts, University of California, Berkeley
Amanuel Guessessew, Tigrai Health Bureau
Globally 350,000-500,000 women die each year from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. The overall lack of reliable data on maternal mortality hinders prevention efforts, advocacy, prioritization, and budget allocation. The system we propose integrates the tools and methodologies of Sentinel Surveillance (SS) and Verbal Autopsy (VA) and builds upon the existing health infrastructure to generate complete registration of vital events with verbal autopsy and cause of death (COD) for all deaths of females of reproductive age. Through an ongoing pilot study conducted in Tigray Ethiopia, we aim to assess the feasibility of this new, community-based, mixed methods approach for accurate measurement of maternal mortality and distribution by cause of death. The model being tested in Ethiopia creates a sustainable system for reliable and accurate maternal mortality data collection (with COD) that can offer local and national governments a low-cost, practical method of measuring vital events, as well as community-based solutions to improve maternal health.