Back 23 August 2016

Counting and reviewing every birth and death is key to preventing future tragedies


ICM's partner WHO has recently launched three publications to help countries improve their data on stillbirths and maternal neonatal deaths. The full publciations can be accessed from the below links. 

1.     WHO Application of the International Classification of Disease-10 to deaths during the perinatalperiod (ICD-PM) is a standardized system for classifying stillbirths and neonatal deaths. The system helps countries link stillbirths and neonatal deaths to contributing conditions in pregnant women, like diabetes or hypertension. Previously, there was no classification system that could be used across all low-, middle- and high-income countries in a consistent way.

2.     Making Every Baby Count: Audit and Review of Stillbirths and Neonatal Deaths is a guide to help countries review and investigate individual deaths so they can recommend and implement solutions to prevent similar ones in the future. It also incorporates ICD-PM classification in order to help countries complete at least a basic death review, which is an in-depth investigation into causes and circumstances surrounding the death. “Every time a death is reviewed it has the potential to tell a story about what could have been done to save a mother and her baby,” says Dr Anthony Costello, Director of Maternal, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health at WHO.

3.     Official reports underestimate the true magnitude of maternal mortality by up to 30% worldwide and 70% in some countries. Time to respond: a report on the global implementation of maternal death surveillance and response helps countries strengthen their maternal mortality review process in hospitals and clinics.The document also provides guidance for establishing a safe environment for health workers to improve quality of care within clinics and an approach to recording deaths occurring outside the health system, such as when mothers deliver at home. Maternal death surveillance and response (MDSR) is a relatively new approach to investigating maternal deaths in real-time by a maternal death review committee (a group of experts) so that health facilities can then take corrective actions. By WHO standards, committees should meet at least twice a year, however, currently only 46% of countries are meeting this standard.

See more at: 

WHO Photo Story:

Policy brief – Making Every Baby Count:

Infographic – Better Data :

Infographic – Stillbirths :



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