This month, BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology published a special supplement on maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. The supplement is drawn from the findings of the WHO Multi-Country Survey on Maternal and Newborn Health from 2010-2012, which is the largest study to date of severe complications and “near misses” in pregnancy. In total, the supplement includes twelve papers, an Editorial, and a Commentary.
The WHO Survey’s data was collected from more than 300,000 women utilizing 359 healthcare facilities in 29 countries, and analyses were run on the number of pregnant women with severe maternal outcomes (either maternal death or “near miss”) and the coverage of essential interventions within these health facilities. Essential interventions—simple treatments necessary for effective maternal health care—include uterotonics for preventing postpartum hemorrhage or magnesium sulfate for eclampsia.
According to the Survey, these interventions alone do not necessarily reduce maternal deaths. In order to achieve significant declines in maternal deaths, comprehensive approaches to emergency care and overall quality improvements in the quality of maternal health care are needed.
All articles in the supplement are available for download.