'Beyond the numbers'.

PositionBrief Article - Book Review

The World Health Organization has published a new document entitled Beyond the Numbers: Reviewing maternal deaths and complications to make pregnancy safer.

In the drive to achieve the reduction of maternal mortality set out in the Millennium Goal, it is clear that accurate data are needed. However, participants at a number of WHO inter-regional meetings on the monitoring of maternal mortality stressed that 'measuring the levels of maternal mortality [is] not enough and called for methods and approaches that would help elucidate the underlying causes of maternal deaths and identify what could be done to avert them'. Beyond the numbers is the response to these calls.

Possible focuses set out in the document for learning about maternal deaths in different settings include:

* community based case reviews (verbal autopsy)

* facility-based case reviews

* confidential enquiries.

* reviewing severe maternal morbidity and 'near misses' rather than maternal deaths.

* clinical audit, which focuses on examining the content and quality of care for specific clinical...

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