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Verbal Autopsy for Better Information on Maternal Deaths

by on April 27, 2015

A Guide on Conducting a Post-Census Verbal Autopsy to Estimate Maternal MortalityA Guide on Conducting a Post-Census Verbal Autopsy to Estimate Maternal Mortality

Large disparities exist in terms of maternal and under-five mortality between rich and poor countries and also between rich and poor within countries. In order to improve maternal and child health, countries need data to inform programs and policies. In terms of maternal mortality, getting accurate estimates is a challenge for many low- and middle-income countries. These countries often lack complete vital registration systems, which include reporting of all births and deaths. Data from health facilities alone do not capture the deaths that occur in homes or non-facility environments. Countries that are able to obtain estimates often only have these estimates at a national level, though maternal mortality may vary widely by sub-region within a country. In addition, few low- or middle-income countries have information regarding cause of maternal mortality at either a national or sub-national level.

This guide presents a methodology of using a post-census verbal autopsy in conjunction with the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Disease guidelines. This methodology can enable countries to obtain the information they need at both national and sub-national levels for effective programs and policies.

Access the guide.

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