At national and international levels, the demand for reliable maternal death estimates has grown significantly since the creation of the Millennium Development Goals. To improve maternal health and survival, decision-makers must make difficult choices about where to allocate scarce resources and how to set programme and policy priorities. To make such decisions, policymakers and programme planners need accurate data on the level of and trends in maternal death in their country or region. Equally valuable is information on differences in the risk of maternal death between, for example, remote and urban communities, or between the rich and the poor in a country.
Unfortunately, reliable and comparable data are scarce. Too often policies or programmes are developed despite a lack of data that identifies which women are at highest risk of maternal death and inadequate knowledge of what actions are most likely to reduce the risk of such deaths. A primary objective of Immpact, a global research initiative, is to improve the methods and evaluation tools for measuring levels of maternal death and attributing changes in maternal health and survival to specific programme strategies.
Measuring Maternal Mortality Challenges, Solutions, and Next Steps, Immpact, University of Aberdeen, UK, 2 pp.