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National estimates for maternal mortality: an analysis based on the WHO systematic review of maternal mortality and morbidity.
BMC Public Health. 2005 Dec 12; 5:131.Despite the worldwide commitment to improving maternal health, measuring, monitoring and comparing maternal mortality estimates remain a challenge. Due to lack of data, international agencies have to rely on mathematical models to assess its global burden. In order to assist in mapping the burden of reproductive ill-health, we conducted a systematic review of incidence/prevalence of maternal mortality and morbidity. We followed the standard methodology for systematic reviews. This manuscript presents nationally representative estimates of maternal mortality derived from the systematic review. Using regression models, relationships between study-specific and country-specific variables with the maternal mortality estimates are explored in order to assist further modelling to predict maternal mortality. Maternal mortality estimates included 141 countries and represent 78.1% of the live births worldwide. As expected, large variability between countries, and within regions and subregions, is identified. Analysis of variability according to study characteristics did not yield useful results given the high correlation with each other, with development status and region. A regression model including selected country-specific variables was able to explain 90% of the variability of the maternal mortality estimates. Among all country-specific variables selected for the analysis, three had the strongest relationships with maternal mortality: proportion of deliveries assisted by a skilled birth attendant, infant mortality rate and health expenditure per capita. With the exception of developed countries, variability of national maternal mortality estimates is large even within subregions. It seems more appropriate to study such variation through differentials in other national and subnational characteristics. Other than region, study of country-specific variables suggests infant mortality rate, skilled birth attendant at delivery and health expenditure per capita are key variables to predict maternal mortality at national level. (author's)
Deaths and disease burden by cause: global burden of disease estimates for 2001 by World Bank country groups. Revised.
[Washington, D.C.], World Bank, Disease Control Priorities Project, 2005 Jan.  p. (Disease Control Priorities Project Working Paper No. 18)The World Health Organization has undertaken a new assessment of the GBD for the year 2000 and subsequent years. The three goals articulated for the GBD 1990 (8) remain central: to decouple epidemiological assessment of the magnitude of health problems from advocacy by interest groups of particular health policies or interventions; to include in international health policy debates information on non-fatal health outcomes along with information on mortality; and to undertake the quantification of health problems in time-based units that can also be used in economic appraisal. The specific objectives for GBD 2000 are similar to the original objectives: to quantify the burden of premature mortality and disability by age, sex, and region for 135 major causes or groups of causes; to develop internally consistent estimates of the incidence, prevalence, duration, and case-fatality for over 500 sequelae resulting from the above causes; to describe and value the health states associated with these sequelaeof diseases and injuries; to analyze the contribution to this burden of major physiological, behavioral, and social risk factors by age, sex and region; to develop alternative projection scenarios of mortality and non-fatal health outcomes over the next 30 years, disaggregated by cause, age, sex and region. (excerpt)