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WHO Meeting on Maternal and Child Health Indicators for Health for All by 2000: Evaluation of Alternatives, Geneva, 8-12 November 1982.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, . 27 p. (WHO/HS/NAT.COM/83.383)The main objectives of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) and Family Planning (FP) Indicators meeting, held in Geneva from November 8-12, 1982, were to: evaluate and critically review past data collection experiences; systematically review existing and new indicators for the evaluation and monitoring of MCH/FP programs; and to discuss the problems and alternative methods of obtaining the necessary data for indicators. The major part of the meeting was devoted to a review of indicators for assessing the progress of MCH/FP programs at the global, regional, and national levels and the consideration of possible sources of information for obtaining the data upon which to base these indicators. On the basis of this review, the meeting sought to arrive at a consensus on the types of information that might be collected for monitoring and evaluting MCH/FP programs under various health circumstances. Information is presented on the following: the experience of the World Health Organization (WHO) ad hoc surveys on infant and childhood mortality; other data collection experiences (World fertility Survey program, international MCH/FP Program of the Population Council, National Household Survey Capability Program, and a study of levels and trends of infant mortality in Mauritius); MCH/FP indicators (global and regional indicators, factors affecting national indicators, mortality and morbidity indicators, positive health indicators MCH and family planning, and sources of information); and future directions (health modules of household surveys and population censuses, innovative techniques, cluster sampling, record keeping systems, vital registration, training of all health workers, and MCH audit). With regard to the ad hoc surveys on infant and childhood mortality conducted in 5 countries in the early and mid 1970s and other data collection experience, the evaluation background paper found that the surveys were too ambitious. The goals were unclear, and the program was not well planned and managed. The shortcomings of these particular surveys were not intended to reflect on the ability of surveys to serve as important vehicles in development of databases for health planning purposes. The meeting heard from various national project directors who emphasized some of the more positive results of the survey for their country. The work of the WFS was particularly encouraging in showing how surveys can provide a whole set of complex data through household interviews. The meeting recognized the need to address the technical problem of data development, particularly the development of indicators for MCH/FP purposes and suggested several directions for the future. The approaches range from using health supplements and modules to national surveys and population censuses, to innovative approaches in the use of synthetic indirect estimation systems and expanded use of cluster sampling, to increased opportunities for training personnel in various aspects of data collection, use, and management.