Produced by Women Deliver August 16, 2016

Better Data to Save Lives of Women and Newborns

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Every year, an estimated 303,000 women die during pregnancy, 2.7 million babies die during the first month, and there are 2.6 million stillbirths. These estimates are sound, but they only tell part of the story. In order to end preventable maternal and newborn deaths, we need better data on why women and babies are dying. Today, the WHO is launching three new publications to help improve data on stillbirths and neonatal deaths, and take action to prevent them:

Time to respond: a report on the global implementation of maternal death surveillance and review (MDSR) This describes the global status of implementation of maternal death surveillance and response (MDSR), a process that helps countries strengthen their maternal mortality review process in hospitals and clinics.

Making every baby count: audit and review of stillbirths and neonatal deaths To help countries review and investigate individual deaths so that they can recommend and implement solutions to prevent deaths from similar causes in future.

WHO Application of the International Classification of Disease-10 to deaths during the perinatal period (ICD-PM) This standardized system for classifying stillbirths and neonatal deaths, aims to help countries link stillbirths and neonatal deaths to contributing conditions in pregnant women to identify the required interventions to prevent future deaths and enable comparisons within and between diverse settings.

 

In today's press release, the WHO stated: 

Nearly all babies who are stillborn and half of all newborn deaths are not recorded in a birth or death certificate, and thus have never been registered, reported or investigated by the health system. As a result, countries often do not know the numbers of deaths or the causes of these deaths and thus are unable to take the effective and timely actions to prevent others babies and mothers from dying.

Counting and reviewing every birth and death is key to preventing future tragedies. You can help spread the word with the below infographics:

Photo courtesy of: Photo: WHO / A. Kari

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