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1.  Applicability of the WHO Maternal Near Miss Criteria in a Low-Resource Setting 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61248.
Background
Maternal near misses are increasingly used to study quality of obstetric care. Inclusion criteria for the identification of near misses are diverse and studies not comparable. WHO developed universal near miss inclusion criteria in 2009 and these criteria have been validated in Brazil and Canada.
Objectives
To validate and refine the WHO near miss criteria in a low-resource setting.
Methods
A prospective cross-sectional study was performed in a rural referral hospital in Tanzania. From November 2009 until November 2011, all cases of maternal death (MD) and maternal near miss (MNM) were included. For identification of MNM, a local modification of the WHO near miss criteria was used, because most laboratory-based and some management-based criteria could not be applied in this setting. Disease-based criteria were added as they reflect severe maternal morbidity. In the absence of a gold standard for identification of MNM, the clinical WHO criteria were validated for identification of MD.
Results
32 MD and 216 MNM were identified using the locally adapted near miss criteria; case fatality rate (CFR) was 12.9%. WHO near miss criteria identified only 60 MNM (CFR 35.6%). All clinical criteria, 25% of the laboratory-based criteria and 50% of the management-based criteria could be applied. The threshold of five units of blood for identification of MNM led to underreporting of MNM. Clinical criteria showed specificity of 99.5% (95%CI: 99.4%–99.7%) and sensitivity of 100% (95%CI: 91.1%–100%). Some inclusion criteria did not contribute to the identification of cases and therefore may be eligible for removal.
Conclusion
The applicability of the WHO near miss criteria depends on the local context, e.g. level of health care. The clinical criteria showed good validity. Lowering the threshold for blood transfusion from five to two units in settings without blood bank and addition of disease-based criteria in low-resource settings is recommended.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061248
PMCID: PMC3629023  PMID: 23613821
2.  "Near-miss" obstetric events and maternal deaths in Sagamu, Nigeria: a retrospective study 
Aim
To determine the frequency of near-miss (severe acute maternal morbidity) and the nature of near-miss events, and comparatively analysed near-miss morbidities and maternal deaths among pregnant women managed over a 3-year period in a Nigerian tertiary centre.
Methods
Retrospective facility-based review of cases of near-miss and maternal death which occurred between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2004. Near-miss case definition was based on validated disease-specific criteria, comprising of five diagnostic categories: haemorrhage, hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, dystocia, infection and anaemia. The near-miss morbidities were compared with maternal deaths with respect to demographic features and disease profiles. Mortality indices were determined for various disease processes to appreciate the standard of care provided for life-threatening obstetric conditions. The maternal death to near-miss ratios for the three years were compared to assess the trend in the quality of obstetric care.
Results
There were 1501 deliveries, 211 near-miss cases and 44 maternal deaths. The total near-miss events were 242 with a decreasing trend from 2002 to 2004. Demographic features of cases of near-miss and maternal death were comparable. Besides infectious morbidity, the categories of complications responsible for near-misses and maternal deaths followed the same order of decreasing frequency. Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy and haemorrhage were responsible for 61.1% of near-miss cases and 50.0% of maternal deaths. More women died after developing severe morbidity due to uterine rupture and infection, with mortality indices of 37.5% and 28.6%, respectively. Early pregnancy complications and antepartum haemorrhage had the lowest mortality indices. Majority of the cases of near-miss (82.5%) and maternal death (88.6%) were unbooked for antenatal care and delivery in this hospital. Maternal mortality ratio for the period was 2931.4 per 100,000 deliveries. The overall maternal death to near-miss ratio was 1: 4.8 and this remained relatively constant over the 3-year period.
Conclusion
The quality of care received by critically ill obstetric patients in this centre is suboptimal with no evident changes between 2002 and 2004. Reduction of the present maternal mortality ratio may best be achieved by developing evidence-based protocols and improving the resources for managing severe morbidities due to hypertension and haemorrhage especially in critically ill unbooked patients. Tertiary care hospitals in Nigeria could also benefit from evaluation of their standard of obstetric care by including near-miss investigations in their maternal death enquiries.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-2-9
PMCID: PMC1291401  PMID: 16262901
3.  “Near Miss” Obstetric Events and Maternal Deaths in a Tertiary Care Hospital: An Audit 
Journal of Pregnancy  2013;2013:393758.
Objectives. (1) To determine the frequency of maternal near miss, maternal near miss incidence ratio (MNMR), maternal near miss to mortality ratio and mortality index. (2) To compare the nature of near miss events with that of maternal mortality. (3) To see the trend of near miss events. Design. Audit. Setting. Kasturba Hospital, Manipal University, Manipal, India. Population. Near miss cases & maternal deaths. Methods. Cases were defined based on WHO criteria 2009. Main Outcome Measures. Severe acute maternal morbidity and maternal deaths. Results. There were 7390 deliveries and 131 “near miss” cases during the study period. The Maternal near miss incidence ratio was 17.8/1000 live births, maternal near miss to mortality ratio was 5.6 : 1, and mortality index was 14.9%. A total of 126 cases were referred, while 5 cases were booked at our hospital. Hemorrhage was the leading cause (44.2%), followed by hypertensive disorders (23.6%) and sepsis (16.3%). Maternal mortality ratio (MMR) was 313/100000 live births. Conclusion. Hemorrhage and hypertensive disorders are the leading causes of near miss events. New-onset viral infections have emerged as the leading cause of maternal mortality. As near miss analysis indicates the quality of health care, it is worth presenting in national indices.
doi:10.1155/2013/393758
PMCID: PMC3710620  PMID: 23878737
4.  Maternal near miss and quality of maternal health care in Baghdad, Iraq 
Background
The maternal near-miss concept has been developed as an instrument for assisting health systems to evaluate and improve their quality of care. Our study aimed at studying the characteristics and quality of care provided to women with severe complications in Baghdad through the use of the World Health Organization (WHO) near-miss approach for maternal health.
Methods
This is a facility-based, cross-sectional study conducted in 6 public hospitals in Baghdad between March 1, 2010 and the June 30, 2010. WHO near-miss approach was utilized to analyze the data in terms of indicators of maternal near miss and access to and quality of maternal care.
Results
The maternal near-miss rate was low at 5.06 per 1,000 live births, while the overall maternal near miss: mortality ratio was 9:1. One third of the near-miss cases were referred from other facilities and the mortality index was the same for referred women and for in-hospital women (11%). The intensive care unit (ICU) admission rate was 37% for women with severe maternal outcomes (SMO), while the overall admission rate was 0.28%. Anemia (55%) and previous cesarean section (45%) were the most common associated conditions with severe maternal morbidity. The use of magnesium sulfate for treatment of eclampsia, oxytocin for prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage, prophylactic antibiotics during caesarean section, and corticosteroids for inducing fetal lung maturation in preterm birth is suboptimum.
Conclusions
The WHO near-miss approach allowed systematic identification of the roadblocks to improve quality of care and then monitoring the progress. Critical evidence-based practices, relevant to the management of women experiencing life-threatening conditions, are underused. In addition, possible limitations in the referral system result in a very high proportion of women presenting at the hospital already in a severe health condition (i.e. with organ dysfunction). A shortage of ICU beds leading to women taken care of without admission to ICU may also contribute to a high proportion of maternal deaths and organ dysfunction.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-11
PMCID: PMC3558361  PMID: 23324222
Maternal morbidity; Obstetric complications; WHO near-miss approach; Quality improvement; Developing countries; Baghdad
5.  The WHO Maternal Near-Miss Approach and the Maternal Severity Index Model (MSI): Tools for Assessing the Management of Severe Maternal Morbidity 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e44129.
Objectives
To validate the WHO maternal near-miss criteria and develop a benchmark tool for severe maternal morbidity assessments.
Methods
In a multicenter cross-sectional study implemented in 27 referral maternity hospitals in Brazil, a one-year prospective surveillance on severe maternal morbidity and data collection was carried out. Diagnostic accuracy tests were used to assess the validity of the WHO maternal near-miss criteria. Binary logistic regression was used to model the death probability among women with severe maternal complications and benchmark the management of severe maternal morbidity.
Results
Of the 82,388 women having deliveries in the participating health facilities, 9,555 women presented pregnancy-related complications, including 140 maternal deaths and 770 maternal near misses. The WHO maternal near-miss criteria were found to be accurate and highly associated with maternal deaths (Positive likelihood ratio 106.8 (95% CI 99.56–114.6)). The maternal severity index (MSI) model was developed and found to able to describe the relationship between life-threatening conditions and mortality (Area under the ROC curve: 0.951 (95% CI 0.909–0.993)).
Conclusion
The identification of maternal near-miss cases using the WHO list of pregnancy-related life-threatening conditions was validated. The MSI model can be used as a tool for benchmarking the performance of health services managing women with severe maternal complications and provide case-mix adjustment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044129
PMCID: PMC3430678  PMID: 22952897
6.  Maternal near miss and mortality in a rural referral hospital in northern Tanzania: a cross-sectional study 
Background
Maternal morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa remains high despite global efforts to reduce it. In order to lower maternal morbidity and mortality in the immediate term, reduction of delay in the provision of quality obstetric care is of prime importance. The aim of this study is to assess the occurrence of severe maternal morbidity and mortality in a rural referral hospital in Tanzania as proposed by the WHO near miss approach and to assess implementation levels of key evidence-based interventions in women experiencing severe maternal morbidity and mortality.
Methods
A prospective cross-sectional study was performed from November 2009 until November 2011 in a rural referral hospital in Tanzania. All maternal near misses and maternal deaths were included. As not all WHO near miss criteria were applicable, a modification was used to identify cases. Data were collected from medical records using a structured data abstraction form. Descriptive frequencies were calculated for demographic and clinical variables, outcome indicators, underlying causes, and process indicators.
Results
In the two-year period there were 216 maternal near misses and 32 maternal deaths. The hospital-based maternal mortality ratio was 350 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births (95% CI 243–488). The maternal near miss incidence ratio was 23.6 per 1,000 live births, with an overall case fatality rate of 12.9%. Oxytocin for prevention of postpartum haemorrhage was used in 96 of 201 women and oxytocin for treatment of postpartum haemorrhage was used in 38 of 66 women. Furthermore, eclampsia was treated with magnesium sulphate in 87% of all cases. Seventy-four women underwent caesarean section, of which 25 women did not receive prophylactic antibiotics. Twenty-eight of 30 women who were admitted with sepsis received parenteral antibiotics. The majority of the cases with uterine rupture (62%) occurred in the hospital.
Conclusion
Maternal morbidity and mortality remain challenging problems in a rural referral hospital in Tanzania. Key evidence-based interventions are not implemented in women with severe maternal morbidity and mortality. Progress can be made through up scaling the use of evidence-based interventions, such as the use of oxytocin for prevention and treatment of postpartum haemorrhage.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-141
PMCID: PMC3716905  PMID: 23826935
Maternal near miss; Severe acute maternal morbidity; Maternal mortality; Quality of obstetric care; WHO near miss approach; WHO near miss criteria
7.  Incidence, determinants and perinatal outcomes of near miss maternal morbidity in Ile-Ife Nigeria: a prospective case control study 
Background
Maternal mortality ratio in Nigeria is one of the highest in the world. Near misses occur in larger numbers than maternal deaths hence they allow for a more comprehensive analysis of risk factors and determinants as well as outcomes of life-threatening complications in pregnancy. The study determined the incidence, characteristics, determinants and perinatal outcomes of near misses in a tertiary hospital in South-west Nigeria.
Methods
A prospective case control study was conducted at the maternity units of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-Ife Nigeria between July 2006 and July 2007. Near miss cases were defined based on validated disease-specific criteria which included severe haemorrhage, hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, prolonged obstructed labour, infection and severe anemia. Four unmatched controls of pregnant women were selected for every near miss case. Three categories of risk factors (background, proximate, clinical) which derived from a conceptual framework were examined. The perinatal outcomes were also assessed. Bi-variate logistic regressions were used for multivariate analysis of determinants and perinatal outcomes of near miss.
Results
The incidence of near miss was 12%. Severe haemorrhage (41.3%), hypertensive disorders in pregnancy (37.3%), prolonged obstructed labour (23%), septicaemia (18.6%) and severe anaemia (14.6%) were the direct causes of near miss. The significant risk factors with their odds ratio and 95% confidence intervals were: chronic hypertension [OR=6.85; 95% CI: (1.96 – 23.93)] having experienced a phase one delay [OR=2.07; 95% CI (1.03 – 4.17)], Emergency caesarian section [OR=3.72; 95% CI: (0.93 – 14.9)], assisted vaginal delivery [OR=2.55; 95% CI: (1.34 – 4.83)]. The protective factors included antenatal care attendance at tertiary facility [OR=0.19; 95% CI: (0.09 – 0.37)], knowledge of pregnancy complications [OR=0.47; 95% CI (0.24 – 0.94)]. Stillbirth [OR=5.4; 95% CI (2.17 – 13.4)] was the most significant adverse perinatal outcomes associated with near miss event.
Conclusions
The analysis of near misses has evolved as a useful tool in the investigation of maternal health especially in life-threatening situations. The significant risk factors identified in this study are amenable to appropriate public health and medical interventions. Adverse perinatal outcomes are clearly attributable to near miss events. Therefore the findings should contribute to Nigeria’s effort to achieving MDG 4 and 5.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-93
PMCID: PMC3651395  PMID: 23587107
Near miss maternal morbidity; Maternal health; Pregnancy complications; Perinatal outcomes; Nigeria
8.  Applying the new concept of maternal near-miss in an intensive care unit 
Clinics  2012;67(3):225-230.
OBJECTIVES:
The World Health Organization has recommended investigating near-misses as a benchmark practice for monitoring maternal healthcare and has standardized the criteria for diagnosis. We aimed to study maternal morbidity and mortality among women admitted to a general intensive care unit during pregnancy or in the postpartum period, using the new World Health Organization criteria.
METHODS:
In a cross-sectional study, 158 cases of severe maternal morbidity were classified according to their outcomes: death, maternal near-miss, and potentially life-threatening conditions. The health indicators for obstetrical care were calculated. A bivariate analysis was performed using the Chi-square test with Yate's correction or Fisher's exact test. A multiple regression analysis was used to calculate the crude and adjusted odds ratios, together with their respective 95% confidence intervals.
RESULTS:
Among the 158 admissions, 5 deaths, 43 cases of maternal near-miss, and 110 cases of potentially life-threatening conditions occurred. The near-miss rate was 4.4 cases per 1,000 live births. The near-miss/death ratio was 8.6 near-misses for each maternal death, and the overall mortality index was 10.4%. Hypertensive syndromes were the main cause of admission (67.7% of the cases, 107/158); however, hemorrhage, mainly due to uterine atony and ectopic pregnancy complications, was the main cause of maternal near-misses and deaths (17/43 cases of near-miss and 2/5 deaths).
CONCLUSIONS:
Hypertension was the main cause of admission and of potentially life-threatening conditions; however, hemorrhage was the main cause of maternal near-misses and deaths at this institution, suggesting that delays may occur in implementing appropriate obstetrical care.
doi:10.6061/clinics/2012(03)04
PMCID: PMC3297030  PMID: 22473402
Maternal mortality; Maternal near-miss; Organ dysfunction or failure; Obstetrical hemorrhage; Severe pre-eclampsia/eclampsia
9.  Maternal near miss and death among women with severe hypertensive disorders: a Brazilian multicenter surveillance study 
Reproductive Health  2014;11:4.
Background
Hypertensive disorders represent the major cause of maternal morbidity in middle income countries. The main objective of this study was to identify the prevalence and factors associated with severe maternal outcomes in women with severe hypertensive disorders.
Methods
This was a cross-sectional, multicenter study, including 6706 women with severe hypertensive disorder from 27 maternity hospitals in Brazil. A prospective surveillance of severe maternal morbidity with data collected from medical charts and entered into OpenClinica®, an online system, over a one-year period (2009 to 2010). Women with severe preeclampsia, severe hypertension, eclampsia and HELLP syndrome were included in the study. They were grouped according to outcome in near miss, maternal death and potentially life-threatening condition. Prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals adjusted for cluster effect for maternal and perinatal variables and delays in receiving obstetric care were calculated as risk estimates of maternal complications having a severe maternal outcome (near miss or death). Poisson multiple regression analysis was also performed.
Results
Severe hypertensive disorders were the main cause of severe maternal morbidity (6706/9555); the prevalence of near miss was 4.2 cases per 1000 live births, there were 8.3 cases of Near Miss to 1 Maternal Death and the mortality index was 10.7% (case fatality). Early onset of the disease and postpartum hemorrhage were independent variables associated with severe maternal outcomes, in addition to acute pulmonary edema, previous heart disease and delays in receiving secondary and tertiary care.
Conclusions
In women with severe hypertensive disorders, the current study identified situations independently associated with a severe maternal outcome, which could be modified by interventions in obstetric care and in the healthcare system. Furthermore, the study showed the feasibility of a hospital system for surveillance of severe maternal morbidity.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-11-4
PMCID: PMC3896751  PMID: 24428879
Organ dysfunction; Organ failure; Severe preeclampsia; Eclampsia; Maternal mortality; Maternal morbidity
10.  Obstetric near miss and deaths in public and private hospitals in Indonesia 
Background
Falling numbers of maternal deaths have stimulated an interest in investigating cases of life threatening obstetric morbidity or near miss. The purpose of this study was to document the frequency and causes of near miss and maternal deaths in four hospitals in West Java, Indonesia.
Methods
Cross sectional study in four hospitals in two districts in Banten province, Indonesia. We reviewed registers and case notes to identify the numbers and causes of near miss and death between November 2003 and October 2004. Near miss cases were defined based on organ dysfunction, clinical and management criteria. Near miss were categorized by whether or not the woman was at a critical state at admission by reviewing the final signs at admission.
Results
The prevalence of near miss was much greater in public than in private hospitals (17.3% versus 4.2%, p = 0.000). Hemorrhage and hypertensive diseases were the most common diagnoses associated with near miss, and vascular dysfunction was the most common criterion of organ dysfunction. The occurrence of maternal deaths was 1.6%, with non-obstetric complications as the leading cause. The majority (70.7%) of near miss in public hospitals were in a critical state at admission but this proportion was much lower in private hospitals (31.9%).
Conclusion
This is the first study to document near miss in public and private hospitals in Indonesia. Close to a fifth of admissions in public hospitals were associated with near miss; and the critical state in which the women arrived suggest important delays in reaching the hospitals. Even though the private sector takes an increasingly larger share of facility-based births in Indonesia, managing obstetric emergencies remains the domain of the public sector.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-8-10
PMCID: PMC2311270  PMID: 18366625
11.  Severe maternal morbidity (near miss) as a sentinel event of maternal death. An attempt to use routine data for surveillance 
Background
To identify all the records within the Brazilian Hospital Information System (HIS) that contained information suggestive of severe maternal morbidity (near miss); to describe the diagnoses and procedures used; to identify variables associated with maternal death.
Methods
A descriptive population study with data from the HIS and Mortality Information System (MIS) files of records of women during pregnancy, delivery and in the postpartum period in all the capital cities of the Brazilian states in 2002. Initially, records of women between 10 and 49 years of age were selected; next, those records with at least one criterion suggestive of near miss were selected. For the linkage of HIS with MIS and HIS with itself, a blocking strategy consisting of three independent steps was established. In the data analysis, near miss ratios were calculated with corresponding 95% confidence interval and the diagnoses and procedures were described; a multiple logistic regression model was adjusted. Primary and secondary diagnoses and the requested and performed procedures during hospitalization were the main outcome measures.
Results
The overall maternal near miss ratio was 44.3/1,000 live births. Among the records indicating near miss, 154 maternal deaths were identified. The criteria of severity most frequently found were infection, preeclampsia and hemorrhage. Logistic regression analysis resulted in 12 variables, including four significant interactions.
Conclusion
Although some limitations, the perspective of routinely using this information system for surveillance of near miss and implementing measures to avoid maternal death is promising.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-5-6
PMCID: PMC2583985  PMID: 18957110
12.  Severe maternal morbidity and maternal near miss in the extremes of reproductive age: results from a national cross- sectional multicenter study 
Background
The aim of this study was to assess severe maternal morbidity (SMM) and near miss (NM) cases among adolescent girls and women over 35 years of age in the Brazilian Network for Surveillance of Severe Maternal Morbidity, using a set of standard criteria, compared to pregnant women aged 20 to 34 years.
Methods
A cross-sectional multicenter study conducted in 27 referral obstetric units in Brazil. All pregnant women admitted to these centers during a one-year period of prospective surveillance were screened to identify cases of maternal death (MD), NM and other SMM. Indicators of maternal morbidity and mortality were evaluated for the three age groups. Sociodemographic, clinical and obstetric characteristics, gestational and perinatal outcomes, main causes of morbidity and delays in care were also compared. Two multiple analysis models were performed, to estimate the adjusted prevalence ratio for identified factors that were independently associated with the occurrence of severe maternal outcome (SMO = MNM + MD).
Results
Among SMM and MD cases identified, the proportion of adolescent girls and older women were 17% each. The risk of MNM or death was 25% higher among older women. Maternal near miss ratio and maternal mortality ratios increased with age, but these ratios were also higher among adolescents aged 10 to 14, although the absolute numbers were low. On multivariate analysis, younger age was not identified as an independent risk factor for SMO, while this was true for older age (PR 1.25; 1.07-1.45).
Conclusions
SMO was high among women below 14 years of age and increased with age in Brazilian pregnant women.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-77
PMCID: PMC3975952  PMID: 24555831
Maternal near-miss; Obstetric complication; Maternal death; Maternal age; Extremes of reproductive age; Maternal morbidity
13.  The prevalence of severe maternal morbidity and near miss and associated factors in Sergipe, Northeast Brazil 
Background
The investigation of severe maternal morbidity (SAMM) and maternal near miss (NM) and associated risk factors is important for the global reduction of maternal mortality. This study investigated the prevalence of SAMM and NM cases and the associated risk factors in two reference maternity hospitals in a capital city in Northeast-Brazil.
Methods
A cross-sectional study with a nested case–control component was conducted from June-2011 to May-2012. Case identification was prospective and data collection was performed according to WHO criteria and definitions. Odds ratio with confidence intervals and multivariate analysis were used whenever possible.
Results
There were 16,243 deliveries, 1,102 SAMM cases, 77 NM cases and 17 maternal deaths. The maternal NM outcome ratio was 5.8 cases/1,000 live births (LB); the total prevalence of SAMM + NM was 72.6 cases/1,000 LB, the maternal near miss: mortality ratio was 4.5cases/1 maternal death (18% of mortality index). Management-based criteria were the most common events for NM (87.1%) and hypertensive disorders for SAMM (67.5%). Higher age, previous abortion and caesarean delivery, the non-adhesion to antenatal care, current caesarean delivery and bad perinatal results were associated with SAMM/NM. In the multivariate analysis, patient’s status, previous caesarian and abortion and level of consciousness were significant when analyzed together.
Conclusions
SAMM and NM situations were prevalent in the studied population and some risk factors seem to be associated with the event, particularly previous gestational antecedents. Protocols based on SAMM/NM situations can save lives and decrease maternal mortality.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-25
PMCID: PMC3898239  PMID: 24433516
Severe maternal morbidity; Maternal deaths; Severe acute obstetric morbidity; Deliveries; Epidemiology; Maternal near miss
14.  An Autopsy Study of Maternal Mortality in Mozambique: The Contribution of Infectious Diseases 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(2):e44.
Background
Maternal mortality is a major health problem concentrated in resource-poor regions. Accurate data on its causes using rigorous methods is lacking, but is essential to guide policy-makers and health professionals to reduce this intolerable burden. The aim of this study was to accurately describe the causes of maternal death in order to contribute to its reduction, in one of the regions of the world with the highest maternal mortality ratios.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a prospective study between October 2002 and December 2004 on the causes of maternal death in a tertiary-level referral hospital in Maputo, Mozambique, using complete autopsies with histological examination. HIV detection was done by virologic and serologic tests, and malaria was diagnosed by histological and parasitological examination. During 26 mo there were 179 maternal deaths, of which 139 (77.6%) had a complete autopsy and formed the basis of this analysis. Of those with test results, 65 women (52.8%) were HIV-positive. Obstetric complications accounted for 38.2% of deaths; haemorrhage was the most frequent cause (16.6%). Nonobstetric conditions accounted for 56.1% of deaths; HIV/AIDS, pyogenic bronchopneumonia, severe malaria, and pyogenic meningitis were the most common causes (12.9%, 12.2%, 10.1% and 7.2% respectively). Mycobacterial infection was found in 12 (8.6%) maternal deaths.
Conclusions
In this tertiary hospital in Mozambique, infectious diseases accounted for at least half of all maternal deaths, even though effective treatment is available for the four leading causes, HIV/AIDS, pyogenic bronchopneumonia, severe malaria, and pyogenic meningitis. These observations highlight the need to implement effective and available prevention tools, such as intermittent preventive treatment and insecticide-treated bed-nets for malaria, antiretroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS, or vaccines and effective antibiotics for pneumococcal and meningococcal diseases. Deaths due to obstetric causes represent a failure of health-care systems and require urgent improvement.
Clara Menendez and colleagues analyze 139 complete autopsies following maternal deaths in Maputo, Mozambique and find a predominance of infectious and preventable causes.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Every year, half a million women—many of them living in developing countries—die during pregnancy or childbirth or within a few weeks of delivery. (The term “maternal deaths” is used to designate such deaths.) For women living in sub-Saharan Africa, the situation is particularly grim. Half of all maternal deaths occur in this region. The maternal mortality ratio (MMR)—the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births—in sub-Saharan Africa is nearly 1,000; in industrialized countries it is 8. The lifetime risk of maternal death in sub-Saharan Africa is 1 in 22; in industrialized countries it is 1 in 8,000. Faced with the magnitude of the global maternal death toll, in September 2000 the United Nations pledged, as its fifth Millennium Development Goal, that the global MMR would be reduced to a quarter of its 1990 level by 2015. Currently, it seems unlikely that this target will be met. Between 1990 and 2005 global maternal deaths decreased by only 1% per annum. In sub-Saharan Africa the annual reduction was even less—0.1% per annum.
Why Was This Study Done?
One reason for this slow progress is that public-health professionals in developing countries rarely have accurate data about the causes of maternal death, information that they need to guide their efforts to reduce these deaths. A detailed examination of the body after death (a medical autopsy) is the only sure way to ascertain the causes of maternal death, but in most developing countries, clinical records and verbal autopsies (asking relatives about the circumstances of the mother's death) are the main sources of these data and neither source is optimally accurate. The currently available information indicates that birth (obstetric) complications are the most frequent causes of maternal death in developing countries, in particular, hemorrhage (uncontrollable bleeding) after the baby is born. However, little is known about the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic (which is worst in Sub-Saharan Africa), malaria, or other infectious diseases on maternal deaths. In this study, the researchers use complete autopsies to determine the causes of maternal death in the Maputo Central Hospital, Mozambique, a tertiary-level hospital to which women with high-risk pregnancies are referred for specialized care.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Between October 2002 and December 2004, there were 179 maternal deaths in the Maputo Central Hospital and 31,135 live births, corresponding to a ratio of 874 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. (Because the hospital was a referral center, this ratio would not be expected to reflect the actual MMR for the general population of the Maputo area.) Complete autopsies were done on 139 of the women, HIV infection was measured using standard tests, and malaria was diagnosed by looking for parasites and malaria-associated changes in postmortem samples. Of these 139 women, just over one-third died because of obstetric complications; hemorrhage was the most common cause of death (one in six maternal deaths). The commonest nonobstetric causes of maternal death were HIV/AIDS- related conditions, including infections and cancers (about 1 in 8 maternal deaths; about half the women in the study were HIV positive). Other common causes were pyogenic (pus-forming) bacterial infections of the lungs and brain, and malaria. Together, these infectious diseases accounted for nearly half of the maternal deaths.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that infectious diseases account for a large proportion of maternal deaths at Maputo Central Hospital and identify which obstetric complications are responsible for most maternal deaths in this setting. They may not, however, accurately reflect the causes of maternal death elsewhere in Mozambique. For example, maternal deaths from some obstetric complications may be over-represented in this study because women at risk of these complications would have been referred to this hospital. Conversely, the proportion of women dying from hemorrhage may be higher in the community because this complication usually happens shortly after birth, leaving little time for women to reach a hospital for treatment. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that the implementation of effective measures to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and infections with pyogenic bacteria, together with improvements in health services for obstetric complications, should greatly reduce the maternal death toll in Mozambique and perhaps in other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050044.
UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund) provides information on maternal mortality including the WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA/The World Bank) estimates of maternal mortality for 2005 by country, and an article on maternal mortality in the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique
More information on the WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA/The World Bank estimates of maternal mortality in 2005
The UK Department for International Development provides information about Millenium Development Goal 5: the improvement of maternal health
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a page on pregnancy-related deaths (in English and Spanish)
The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health provides information on maternal deaths (in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, and Chinese)
The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) focuses on improving conditions for women worldwide, especially those in poverty
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050044
PMCID: PMC2245982  PMID: 18288887
15.  Brazilian network for the surveillance of maternal potentially life threatening morbidity and maternal near-miss and a multidimensional evaluation of their long term consequences 
Reproductive Health  2009;6:15.
Background
It has been suggested that the study of women who survive life-threatening complications related to pregnancy (maternal near-miss cases) may represent a practical alternative to surveillance of maternal morbidity/mortality since the number of cases is higher and the woman herself is able to provide information on the difficulties she faced and the long-term repercussions of the event. These repercussions, which may include sexual dysfunction, postpartum depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, may persist for prolonged periods of time, affecting women's quality of life and resulting in adverse effects to them and their babies.
Objective
The aims of the present study are to create a nationwide network of scientific cooperation to carry out surveillance and estimate the frequency of maternal near-miss cases, to perform a multicenter investigation into the quality of care for women with severe complications of pregnancy, and to carry out a multidimensional evaluation of these women up to six months.
Methods/Design
This project has two components: a multicenter, cross-sectional study to be implemented in 27 referral obstetric units in different geographical regions of Brazil, and a concurrent cohort study of multidimensional analysis. Over 12 months, investigators will perform prospective surveillance to identify all maternal complications. The population of the cross-sectional component will consist of all women surviving potentially life-threatening conditions (severe maternal complications) or life-threatening conditions (the maternal near miss criteria) and maternal deaths according to the new WHO definition and criteria. Data analysis will be performed in case subgroups according to the moment of occurrence and determining cause. Frequencies of near-miss and other severe maternal morbidity and the association between organ dysfunction and maternal death will be estimated. A proportion of cases identified in the cross-sectional study will comprise the cohort of women for the multidimensional analysis. Various aspects of the lives of women surviving severe maternal complications will be evaluated 3 and 6 months after the event and compared to a group of women who suffered no severe complications in pregnancy. Previously validated questionnaires will be used in the interviews to assess reproductive function, posttraumatic stress, functional capacity, quality of life, sexual function, postpartum depression and infant development.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-6-15
PMCID: PMC2760504  PMID: 19778437
16.  Clinico-Pathological Discrepancies in the Diagnosis of Causes of Maternal Death in Sub-Saharan Africa: Retrospective Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(2):e1000036.
Background
Maternal mortality is a major public-health problem in developing countries. Extreme differences in maternal mortality rates between developed and developing countries indicate that most of these deaths are preventable. Most information on the causes of maternal death in these areas is based on clinical records and verbal autopsies. Clinical diagnostic errors may play a significant role in this problem and might also have major implications for the evaluation of current estimations of causes of maternal death.
Methods and Findings
A retrospective analysis of clinico-pathologic correlation was carried out, using necropsy as the gold standard for diagnosis. All maternal autopsies (n = 139) during the period from October 2002 to December 2004 at the Maputo Central Hospital, Mozambique were included and major diagnostic discrepancies were analyzed (i.e., those involving the cause of death). Major diagnostic errors were detected in 56 (40.3%) maternal deaths. A high rate of false negative diagnoses was observed for infectious diseases, which showed sensitivities under 50%: HIV/AIDS-related conditions (33.3%), pyogenic bronchopneumonia (35.3%), pyogenic meningitis (40.0%), and puerperal septicemia (50.0%). Eclampsia, was the main source of false positive diagnoses, showing a low predictive positive value (42.9%).
Conclusions
Clinico-pathological discrepancies may have a significant impact on maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa and question the validity of reports based on clinical data or verbal autopsies. Increasing clinical awareness of the impact of obstetric and nonobstetric infections with their inclusion in the differential diagnosis, together with a thorough evaluation of cases clinically thought to be eclampsia, could have a significant impact on the reduction of maternal mortality.
Jaume Ordi and colleagues examine the discrepancies between clinical diagnoses of causes of maternal deaths and pathological findings by necropsy in Mozambique.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Every year, about half a million women die during pregnancy or childbirth or soon after delivery—so-called “maternal deaths.” Although nearly all these maternal deaths occur in developing countries, the situation is particularly bad in sub-Saharan Africa where more than a quarter of a million maternal deaths occur annually. The number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in this region is nearly 1,000, whereas in developed regions it is only nine deaths. A 15-year-old girl living in sub-Saharan Africa has a lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy or childbirth of 1 in 22, but a girl living in the developed regions of the world has a lifetime risk of only 1 in 7,300. Maternal deaths can be caused by obstetric (childbirth-related) complications such as puerperal septicemia (an infection of the blood contracted during delivery) and eclampsia (seizures associated with high blood pressure during pregnancy), and by nonobstetric conditions such as HIV/AIDS-related infections and other infections.
Why Was This Study Done?
In 2000, the United Nations made reduction of the global burden of maternal mortality one of its Millennium Development Goals (a set of targets designed to eradicate poverty by 2015), but little progress has been made toward achieving this goal. One possible explanation for this failure might be that limited access to diagnostic tests in developing countries results in more clinical diagnostic errors than in developed countries and that, consequently, mothers in developing countries don't always get the right treatment when they become ill. Unfortunately, it is difficult to test this hypothesis, because there is very little accurate information on the causes of maternal death in many developing countries. What information there is comes mainly from clinical records and verbal autopsies (asking relatives about the mother's death) rather than from examination of the body after death (a medical autopsy), the only sure way to ascertain the cause of death. In this study, the researchers retrospectively analyze discrepancies between the clinical diagnoses and autopsy diagnoses of 139 mothers who died at the Maputo Central Hospital, Mozambique, a large hospital providing specialized care for women with high-risk pregnancies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
All the organs from the mothers were visually examined by a pathologist and samples of any abnormal tissues and of the internal organs were examined microscopically. Two pathologists independently established the cause of each death by considering both the clinical diagnosis and the autopsy results (the “autopsy diagnosis”). The discrepancies between the clinical and autopsy (“gold standard”) diagnoses were then analyzed. Major diagnostic errors (errors involving the cause of death) occurred in nearly half of the maternal deaths; the clinical and autopsy diagnoses completely agreed in only a third of cases. 80% of the major diagnostic errors were “class I errors.” That is, errors where a correct diagnosis would have changed patient management and prolonged survival or provided a cure. For example, 12 women were given an incorrect diagnosis of eclampsia when they had other conditions that could have been successfully treated if correctly diagnosed. Furthermore, many infections detected in the autopsies were missed in the clinical diagnoses (false-negative diagnoses), some of which could have been treated.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that clinical and autopsy diagnoses of the causes of maternal death frequently disagree in this hospital. Further studies are needed to see whether similar levels of disagreement exist in other hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa. The discrepancy reported here might, for example, be an overestimate of the general situation, because the high-risk pregnancies referred to this hospital might involve more hard-to-diagnose problems than the routine pregnancies referred to other hospitals. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that misdiagnosed conditions may affect maternal mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa and that an increased use of autopsy in the region could reduce maternal mortality by providing more accurate information about why mothers die. In particular, these findings suggest that a more thorough evaluation of cases thought to be eclampsia and a better awareness of the involvement of infectious diseases in maternal deaths might reduce diagnostic errors and consequently reduce the incidence of maternal deaths.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000036.
UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund) provides information on maternal mortality and the WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA/The World Bank estimates of maternal mortality for 2005 by country
The WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA/The World Bank estimates of maternal mortality in 2005 also provides full information about global maternal mortality
The UK Department for International Development provides information about Millenium Development Goal 5: the improvement of maternal health
The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health provides information on maternal deaths (in several languages), including information on the situation in Mozambique
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000036
PMCID: PMC2646780  PMID: 19243215
17.  WHO systematic review of maternal morbidity and mortality: the prevalence of severe acute maternal morbidity (near miss) 
Aim
To determine the prevalence of severe acute maternal morbidity (SAMM) worldwide (near miss).
Method
Systematic review of all available data. The methodology followed a pre-defined protocol, an extensive search strategy of 10 electronic databases as well as other sources. Articles were evaluated according to specified inclusion criteria. Data were extracted using data extraction instrument which collects additional information on the quality of reporting including definitions and identification of cases. Data were entered into a specially constructed database and tabulated using SAS statistical management and analysis software.
Results
A total of 30 studies are included in the systematic review. Designs are mainly cross-sectional and 24 were conducted in hospital settings, mostly teaching hospitals. Fourteen studies report on a defined SAMM condition while the remainder use a response to an event such as admission to intensive care unit as a proxy for SAMM. Criteria for identification of cases vary widely across studies. Prevalences vary between 0.80% – 8.23% in studies that use disease-specific criteria while the range is 0.38% – 1.09% in the group that use organ-system based criteria and included unselected group of women. Rates are within the range of 0.01% and 2.99% in studies using management-based criteria. It is not possible to pool data together to provide summary estimates or comparisons between different settings due to variations in case-identification criteria. Nevertheless, there seems to be an inverse trend in prevalence with development status of a country.
Conclusion
There is a clear need to set uniform criteria to classify patients as SAMM. This standardisation could be made for similar settings separately. An organ-system dysfunction/failure approach is the most epidemiologically sound as it is least open to bias, and thus could permit developing summary estimates.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-1-3
PMCID: PMC516581  PMID: 15357863
18.  Social differentiation and embodied dispositions: a qualitative study of maternal care-seeking behaviour for near-miss morbidity in Bolivia 
Reproductive Health  2009;6:13.
Background
Use of maternal health care in low-income countries has been associated with several socioeconomic and demographic factors, although contextual analyses of the latter have been few. A previous study showed that 75% of women with severe obstetric morbidity (near-miss) identified at hospitals in La Paz, Bolivia were in critical conditions upon arrival, underscoring the significance of pre-hospital barriers also in this setting with free and accessible maternal health care. The present study explores how health care-seeking behaviour for near-miss morbidity is conditioned in La Paz, Bolivia.
Methods
Thematic interviews with 30 women with a near-miss event upon arrival at hospital. Near-miss was defined based on clinical and management criteria. Modified analytic induction was applied in the analysis that was further influenced by theoretical views that care-seeking behaviour is formed by predisposing characteristics, enabling factors, and perceived need, as well as by socially shaped habitual behaviours.
Results
The self-perception of being fundamentally separated from "others", meaning those who utilise health care, was typical for women who customarily delivered at home and who delayed seeking medical assistance for obstetric emergencies. Other explanations given by these women were distrust of authority, mistreatment by staff, such as not being kept informed about their condition or the course of their treatment, all of which reinforced their dissociation from the health-care system.
Conclusion
The findings illustrate health care-seeking behaviour as a practise that is substantially conditioned by social differentiation. Social marginalization and the role health institutions play in shaping care-seeking behaviour have been de-emphasised by focusing solely on endogenous cultural factors in Bolivia.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-6-13
PMCID: PMC2722580  PMID: 19640286
19.  The Effectiveness of Emergency Obstetric Referral Interventions in Developing Country Settings: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(7):e1001264.
In a systematic review of the literature, Julia Hussein and colleagues seek to determine the effect of referral interventions that enable emergency access to health facilities for pregnant women living in developing countries.
Background
Pregnancy complications can be unpredictable and many women in developing countries cannot access health facilities where life-saving care is available. This study assesses the effects of referral interventions that enable pregnant women to reach health facilities during an emergency, after the decision to seek care is made.
Methods and findings
Selected bibliographic databases were searched with no date or language restrictions. Randomised controlled trials and quasi experimental study designs with a comparison group were included. Outcomes of interest included maternal and neonatal mortality and other intermediate measures such as service utilisation. Two reviewers independently selected, appraised, and extracted articles using predefined fields. Forest plots, tables, and qualitative summaries of study quality, size, and direction of effect were used for analysis.
Nineteen studies were included. In South Asian settings, four studies of organisational interventions in communities that generated funds for transport reduced neonatal deaths, with the largest effect seen in India (odds ratio 0·48 95% CI 0·34–0·68). Three quasi experimental studies from sub-Saharan Africa reported reductions in stillbirths with maternity waiting home interventions, with one statistically significant result (OR 0.56 95% CI 0.32–0.96). Effects of interventions on maternal mortality were unclear. Referral interventions usually improved utilisation of health services but the opposite effect was also documented. The effects of multiple interventions in the studies could not be disentangled. Explanatory mechanisms through which the interventions worked could not be ascertained.
Conclusions
Community mobilisation interventions may reduce neonatal mortality but the contribution of referral components cannot be ascertained. The reduction in stillbirth rates resulting from maternity waiting homes needs further study. Referral interventions can have unexpected adverse effects. To inform the implementation of effective referral interventions, improved monitoring and evaluation practices are necessary, along with studies that develop better understanding of how interventions work.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, about 350,000 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications. Almost all of these “maternal” deaths occur in developing countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR, the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) is 500 and a woman's life-time risk of dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth is 1 in 39. By contrast, the MMR in industrialized countries is 12 and women have a life-time risk of maternal death of 1 in 4,700. Most maternal deaths are caused by hemorrhage (severe bleeding after childbirth), post-delivery infections, obstructed (difficult) labor, and blood pressure disorders during pregnancy, all of which are preventable or treatable conditions. Unfortunately, it is hard to predict which women will develop pregnancy complications, many complications rapidly become life-threatening and, in developing countries, women often deliver at home, far from emergency obstetric services; obstetrics deals with the care of women and their children during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal period.
Why Was This Study Done?
It should be possible to reduce maternal deaths (and the deaths of babies during pregnancy, childbirth, and early life) in developing countries by ensuring that pregnant women are referred to emergency obstetric services quickly when the need arises. Unfortunately, in such countries referral to emergency obstetric care is beset with problems such as difficult geographical terrain, transport costs, lack of vehicles, and suboptimal location and distribution of health care facilities. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers assess the effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce the “phase II delay” in referral to emergency obstetric care in developing countries—the time it takes a woman to reach an appropriate health care facility once a problem has been recognized and the decision has been taken to seek care. Delays in diagnosis and the decision to seek care are phase I delays in referral, whereas delays in receiving care once a women reaches a health care facility are phase III delays.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 19 published studies that described 14 interventions designed to overcome phase II delays in emergency obstetric referral and that met their criteria for inclusion in their systematic review. About half of the interventions were organizational. That is, they were designed to overcome barriers to referral such as costs. Most of the remaining interventions were structural. That is, they involved the provision of, for example, ambulances and maternity waiting homes—placed close to a health care facility where women can stay during late pregnancy. Although seven studies provided data on maternal mortality, none showed a sustained, statistically significant reduction (a reduction unlikely to have occurred by chance) in maternal deaths. Four studies in South Asia in which communities generated funds for transport reduced neonatal deaths (deaths of babies soon after birth), but the only statistically significant effect of this community mobilization intervention was seen in India where neonatal deaths were halved. Three studies from sub-Saharan Africa reported that the introduction of maternity waiting homes reduced stillbirths but this reduction was only significant in one study. Finally, although referral interventions generally improved the utilization of health services, in one study the provision of bicycle ambulances to take women to the hospital reduced the proportion of women delivering in health facilities, probably because women felt that bicycle ambulances drew unwanted attention to them during labor and so preferred to stay at home.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that community mobilization interventions may reduce neonatal mortality and that maternity waiting rooms may reduce stillbirths. Importantly, they also highlight how referral interventions can have unexpected adverse effects. However, because the studies included in this systematic review included multiple interventions designed to reduce delays at several stages of the referral process, it is not possible to disentangle the contribution of each component of the intervention. Moreover, it is impossible at present to determine why (or even if) any of the interventions reduced maternal mortality. Thus, the researchers conclude, improved monitoring of interventions and better evaluation of outcomes is essential to inform the implementation of effective referral interventions, and more studies are needed to improve understanding of how referral interventions work.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001264.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) provides information on maternal mortality, including the WHO/UNICEF./UNFPA/World Bank 2008 country estimates of maternal mortality
The World Health Organization provides information on maternal health, including information about Millennium Development Goal 5, which aims to reduce maternal mortality (in several languages); the Millennium Development Goals, which were agreed by world leaders in 2000, are designed to eradicate extreme poverty worldwide by 2015
Immpact is a global research initiative for the evaluation of safe motherhood intervention strategies
Veil of Tears contains personal stories from Afghanistan about loss in childbirth; the non-governmental health development organization AMREF provides personal stories about maternal health in Africa
Maternal Death: The Avoidable Crisis is a briefing paper published by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in March 2012
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001264
PMCID: PMC3393680  PMID: 22807658
20.  National data system on near miss and maternal death: shifting from maternal risk to public health impact in Nigeria 
Background
The lack of reliable and up-to-date statistics on maternal deaths and disabilities remains a major challenge to the implementation of Nigeria's Road Map to Accelerate the Millennium Development Goal related to Maternal Health (MDG-5). There are currently no functioning national data sources on maternal deaths and disabilities that could serve as reference points for programme managers, health advocates and policy makers. While awaiting the success of efforts targeted at overcoming the barriers facing establishment of population-based data systems, referral institutions in Nigeria can contribute their quota in the quest towards MDG-5 by providing good quality and reliable information on maternal deaths and disabilities on a continuous basis. This project represents the first opportunity to initiate a scientifically sound and reliable quantitative system of data gathering on maternal health profile in Nigeria.
Objective
The primary objective is to create a national data system on maternal near miss (MNM) and maternal mortality in Nigerian public tertiary institutions. This system will conduct periodically, both regionally and at country level, a review of the magnitude of MNM and maternal deaths, nature of events responsible for MNM and maternal deaths, indices for the quality of care for direct obstetric complications and the health service events surrounding these complications, in an attempt to collectively define and monitor the standard of comprehensive emergency obstetric care in the country.
Methods
This will be a nationwide cohort study of all women who experience MNM and those who die from pregnancy, childbirth and puerperal complications using uniform criteria among women admitted in tertiary healthcare facilities in the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria. This will be accomplished by establishing a network of all public tertiary obstetric referral institutions that will prospectively collect specific information on potentially fatal maternal complications. For every woman enrolled, the health service events (care pathways) within the facility will be evaluated to identify areas of substandard care/avoidable factors through clinical audit by the local research team. A summary estimate of the frequencies of MNM and maternal deaths will be determined at intervals and indicators of quality of care (case fatality rate, both total and cause-specific and mortality index) will be evaluated at facility, regional and country levels.
Management
Overall project management will be from the Centre for Research in Reproductive Health (CRRH), Sagamu, Nigeria. There will be at least two meetings and site visits for efficient coordination of the project by regional coordinators and central coordinating staff. Data will be transferred electronically by hospital and regional coordinators and managed at the Data Management Unit of CRRH, Sagamu, Nigeria.
Expected outcomes
The outcome of the study would provide useful information to the health practitioners, policy-makers and international partners on the strengths and weaknesses of the infrastructures provided for comprehensive emergency obstetric care in Nigeria. The successful implementation of this project will pave way for the long-awaited Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths that would guide the formulation and or revision of obstetric policies and practices in Nigeria. Lessons learnt from the establishment of this data system can also be used to set up similar structures at lower levels of healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-6-8
PMCID: PMC2702364  PMID: 19508717
21.  Effect of a Primary Postpartum Haemorrhage on the “Near-Miss” Morbidity and Mortality at a Tertiary Care Hospital in Rural Bangalore, India 
Aim: To assess the risk factors, the mortality and the “near-miss” morbidity in primary PPH.
Setting and Design: A retrospective analysis of 124 women with PPH (within 24 hrs of delivery) over 4 consecutive years in a tertiary care hospital in rural bangalore.
Material and Methods: The case sheets of the patients, which were identified by the labour record registers as having PPH were reviewed by the same person, to identify the actual impact of the condition. The data was analyzed by Chi-square analysis.
Result: PPH (the loss of blood that caused significant alterations in the maternal condition or a blood loss of 500 cc in vaginal deliveries or of >1000 cc in caesarean sections) was recorded in 124 women; 60 had delivered in hospitals (Group-A) and 64 had been referred after their deliveries (Group-B) from various peripheral centres, i.e., maternity hospitals, nursing homes and district and community health centres. The maternal mortality ratio during this period was 71/100,000 (4 deaths/5600 live births). Of these 4 deaths, 0 were in group A and 4 were in group B. The “near-miss” morbidity was higher than the mortality (total 20/124; 6/60 in Group-A and 14/64 in Group-B). The delayed referrals and the lack of an active 3rd stage management in Group-B were responsible for most of the adverse events.
Conclusion: Both the “near-miss” morbidity and the mortality in PPH reflect the level of obstetric care in the developing world. These need to be reduced by strengthening the peripheral delivery facilities, the active 3rd stage management and the timely referrals.
doi:10.7860/JCDR/2013/5376.3066
PMCID: PMC3708211  PMID: 23905116
Maternal mortality; “Near-miss” morbidity; Primary postpartum haemorrhage
22.  Maternal morbidity and near miss associated with maternal age: the innovative approach of the 2006 Brazilian demographic health survey 
Clinics  2013;68(7):922-927.
OBJECTIVE:
To study the prevalence of potentially life-threatening maternal conditions and near miss in Brazil according to maternal age.
METHODS:
A secondary analysis of the 2006 Brazilian demographic health survey database using a validated questionnaire to evaluate maternal morbidity with a focus on age extremes. The study included 5,025 women with at least 1 live birth in the 5-year reference period preceding their interviews. Three age range periods were used: 15-19 years (younger age), 20-34 years (control), and 35-49 years (advanced maternal age). According to a pragmatic definition, any woman reporting eclampsia, hysterectomy, blood transfusion, or admission to the intensive care unit during her pregnancy/childbirth was considered a near-miss case. The associations between age and severe maternal morbidity were further assessed.
RESULTS:
For the 6,833 reported pregnancies, 73.7% of the women were 20-34 years old, 17.9% were of advanced maternal age, and only 8.4% were of younger age. More than 22% of the women had at least one of the complications appraised, and blood transfusion, which was more prevalent among the controls, was the only variable with a significant difference among the age groups. The overall rate of maternal near miss was 21.1 per 1000 live births. There was a trend of higher maternal near miss with increasing age. The only significant risk factor identified for maternal near miss was a lower literacy level among older women.
CONCLUSIONS:
There is a trend towards worse results with increasing age. The investigation of the determinants of maternal near miss at the community level using an innovative approach through a demographic health survey is an example suggested for under-resourced settings.
doi:10.6061/clinics/2013(07)06
PMCID: PMC3715023  PMID: 23917654
Morbidity; Obstetric Complication; Pregnancy in Adolescence; Maternal Age
23.  The effect of tertiary surveys on missed injuries in trauma: a systematic review 
Background
Trauma tertiary surveys (TTS) are advocated to reduce the rate of missed injuries in hospitalized trauma patients. Moreover, the missed injury rate can be a quality indicator of trauma care performance. Current variation of the definition of missed injury restricts interpretation of the effect of the TTS and limits the use of missed injury for benchmarking. Only a few studies have specifically assessed the effect of the TTS on missed injury. We aimed to systematically appraise these studies using outcomes of two common definitions of missed injury rates and long-term health outcomes.
Methods
A systematic review was performed. An electronic search (without language or publication restrictions) of the Cochrane Library, Medline and Ovid was used to identify studies assessing TTS with short-term measures of missed injuries and long-term health outcomes. ‘Missed injury’ was defined as either: Type I) any injury missed at primary and secondary survey and detected by the TTS; or Type II) any injury missed at primary and secondary survey and missed by the TTS, detected during hospital stay. Two authors independently selected studies. Risk of bias for observational studies was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale.
Results
Ten observational studies met our inclusion criteria. None was randomized and none reported long-term health outcomes. Their risk of bias varied considerably. Nine studies assessed Type I missed injury and found an overall rate of 4.3%. A single study reported Type II missed injury with a rate of 1.5%. Three studies reported outcome data on missed injuries for both control and intervention cohorts, with two reporting an increase in Type I missed injuries (3% vs. 7%, P<0.01), and one a decrease in Type II missed injuries (2.4% vs. 1.5%, P=0.01).
Conclusions
Overall Type I and Type II missed injury rates were 4.3% and 1.5%. Routine TTS performance increased Type I and reduced Type II missed injuries. However, evidence is sub-optimal: few observational studies, non-uniform outcome definitions and moderate risk of bias. Future studies should address these issues to allow for the use of missed injury rate as a quality indicator for trauma care performance and benchmarking.
doi:10.1186/1757-7241-20-77
PMCID: PMC3546883  PMID: 23190504
Tertiary survey; Missed injury; Multiple trauma; Patient safety; Quality of care
24.  Birth in Brazil: national survey into labour and birth 
Reproductive Health  2012;9:15.
Background
Caesarean section rates in Brazil have been steadily increasing. In 2009, for the first time, the number of children born by this type of procedure was greater than the number of vaginal births. Caesarean section is associated with a series of adverse effects on the women and newborn, and recent evidence suggests that the increasing rates of prematurity and low birth weight in Brazil are associated to the increasing rates of Caesarean section and labour induction.
Methods
Nationwide hospital-based cohort study of postnatal women and their offspring with follow-up at 45 to 60 days after birth. The sample was stratified by geographic macro-region, type of the municipality and by type of hospital governance. The number of postnatal women sampled was 23,940, distributed in 191 municipalities throughout Brazil. Two electronic questionnaires were applied to the postnatal women, one baseline face-to-face and one follow-up telephone interview. Two other questionnaires were filled with information on patients’ medical records and to assess hospital facilities. The primary outcome was the percentage of Caesarean sections (total, elective and according to Robson’s groups). Secondary outcomes were: post-partum pain; breastfeeding initiation; severe/near miss maternal morbidity; reasons for maternal mortality; prematurity; low birth weight; use of oxygen use after birth and mechanical ventilation; admission to neonatal ICU; stillbirths; neonatal mortality; readmission in hospital; use of surfactant; asphyxia; severe/near miss neonatal morbidity. The association between variables were investigated using bivariate, stratified and multivariate model analyses. Statistical tests were applied according to data distribution and homogeneity of variances of groups to be compared. All analyses were taken into consideration for the complex sample design.
Discussion
This study, for the first time, depicts a national panorama of labour and birth outcomes in Brazil. Regardless of the socioeconomic level, demand for Caesarean section appears to be based on the belief that the quality of obstetric care is closely associated to the technology used in labour and birth. Within this context, it was justified to conduct a nationwide study to understand the reasons that lead pregnant women to submit to Caesarean sections and to verify any association between this type of birth and it’s consequences on postnatal health.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-9-15
PMCID: PMC3500713  PMID: 22913663
Caesarean section; Elective Caesarean section; Robson’s groups; Near miss maternal morbidity; Near miss neonatal morbidity; Prematurity; Low birth weight; Brazil
25.  Intraclass correlation coefficients in the Brazilian network for surveillance of severe maternal morbidity study 
Background
The purpose of the study was to evaluate intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) of variables concerning personal characteristics, structure, outcome and process in the Brazilian Network for Surveillance of Severe Maternal Morbidity study conducted to identify severe maternal morbidity/near miss cases using the World Health Organization criteria.
Method
It was a cross-sectional, multicenter study involving 27 hospitals providing care for pregnant women in Brazil. Cluster size and the mean size of the primary sampling unit were described. Estimated prevalence rates, ICC, their respective 95% confidence intervals, the design effect and the mean cluster size were presented for each variable.
Results
Overall, 9,555 cases of severe maternal morbidity (woman admitted with potentially life-threatening conditions, near miss events or death) were included in the study. ICC ranged from < 0.001 to 0.508, with a median of 0.035. ICC was < 0.1 for approximately 75% of the variables. For process-related variables, median ICC was 0.09, with 0.021 for those related to outcome. These findings confirm data from previous studies. Homogeneity may be considered minor, thus increasing reliability of these findings.
Conclusions
These results may be used to design new cluster trials in maternal and perinatal health and to help calculate sample sizes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-101
PMCID: PMC3570276  PMID: 22998520
Intraclass correlation coefficient; Maternal near miss; Severe maternal morbidity; Maternal and perinatal health

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