Most maternal deaths are preventable. In order to end preventable maternal deaths, accurate information on how many women died, where they died and how they died is essential, but is currently inadequate. This is called a maternal death review.
Maternal death surveillance and response (MDSR) is a relatively new concept that builds on the principles of public health surveillance.
It promotes routine identification and timely notification of maternal deaths and is a form of continuous surveillance linking health information system and quality improvement processes from local to national level.
It helps in quantification and determination of causes and avoidability of maternal deaths. Each one of these untimely fatalities provides valuable information, which if acted on, can prevent future deaths.
Consequently, MDSR emphasises the link between information and response.
MDSR will contribute to strengthening vital registration and better counting of maternal deaths, and provide better information for action and monitoring improvements in maternal health.