Maternal Mortality: A New Estimate for Pernambuco

Sandra Valongueiro, University of Texas at Austin

This study examines female death data in five meso-regions of Pernambuco (Brazil) for 2003 in order to identify misclassification of maternal deaths based on the RAMOS method, and then, to compare the 2003 data with 1994 mortality maternal data. A total of 1240 deaths for women aged 10-49 were studied during 2004. Preliminary results show that 50 maternal deaths were identified compared to 23 based on the death certificate reports. Thus, the official reports are almost 120% low. While the level of maternal mortality was much lower than that reported in 1994, the ratio of underreporting remained roughly the same. This represents an underreporting of both the maternal mortality level and the distribution of cause specific-mortality. The higher proportion of misclassification was for indirect maternal deaths (cardiovascular diseases and respiratory diseases). Eclampsias and cardiovascular diseases were the most common cause of deaths, and violence-related deaths accounted for 11.5% of maternal deaths.

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Presented in Session 114: Maternal Health in Developing Countries