This paper, written by a number of maternal health experts from academic institutions and international agencies, argues that current methods for estimating maternal mortality lack precision and are not suitable for monitoring progress in the short run.
National maternal mortality ratios alone do not provide useful information on where the greatest burden of mortality is located, who is concerned, what are the causes, and more importantly what sub-national variations occur.
In response to this, the paper calls for the establishment of MDSR systems, noting that they are not yet established in most countries, despite their potential value for policy making and accountability. The paper usefully highlights fundamental parts of and steps in establishing a MDSR system. It is argued that establishing an MDSR system will help to achieve MDG 5, improve quality of maternity care, and eliminate maternal mortality.
Sennen Hounton, Luc De Bernis, Julia Hussein, Wendy J Graham, Isabella Danel, Peter Byass, Elizabeth M Mason. Towards elimination of maternal deaths: maternal deaths surveillance and response. Reproductive Health, 10(1) (open access)