Professor Affette McCaw-Binns, a Reproductive Health Epidemiologist at the University of the West Indies (Mona) and Dr Simone Spence, Director of Family Health Services at the Ministry of Health in Jamaica explain how legislation and policy strengthened the reporting of maternal deaths in Jamaica. This case study describes how the policy framework was amended to improve the reporting of maternal deaths and how other interventions implemented simultaneously together strengthen the maternal death surveillance and response (MDSR) system.
In the early 1980s1,2, maternal deaths in Jamaica were significantly under-reported in vital registration records by as much as 75%. With over 80% of all live births occurring in public hospitals2 it was suggested that establishing a surveillance system at public hospitals could capture needed information about the number of maternal deaths in the country. Given the findings3, the government agreed to implement an active (as opposed to the pre-existing passive) surveillance system to monitor maternal deaths.
This case study will describe the approaches that the government adopted, including how the legal framework was used in support of strengthening the MDSR system and reversing under-reporting. Continue reading