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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO THE EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 1391-1392
Application of data available through health information systems in preventing maternal deaths


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication6-Nov-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Application of data available through health information systems in preventing maternal deaths. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1391-2

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Application of data available through health information systems in preventing maternal deaths. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Sep 18];10:1391-2. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/5/1391/196752


Dear Editor,

For decades together, maternal deaths have remained a major public health concern in developing nations, which account for an estimated 99% of the overall maternal deaths.[1]

Infact, for the year 2015, the maternal mortality ratio per 1 lakh live births was 20 times higher for developed nations than developing nations.[1] Even though, in the quest to achieve Millennium Development Goal 5 of improving maternal health, the world has achieved a significant reduction of almost 45% by the end of 2015, yet, even today, more than 825 women are losing their lives every day due to preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.[1]

There is no doubt that the health seeking behavior of a woman during pregnancy tends to cast a major impact on both her well-being and the survival of her child.[2] As the antenatal period offers the best chance for the conditioning of normal pregnant females as well as for identifying the high-risk pregnant females, and therefore, extending extra care (viz. health education, screening and diagnosis, treatment and referral) to the females, missing health care attention during this period significantly enhances the risk of an adverse pregnancy outcome.[2],[3]

The findings of an epidemiological study revealed that in Kenya, only one-third of pregnant women had the recommended four antenatal visits during their pregnancy.[3] However, owing to the fact that in excess of 50% of the total deaths have been reported in sub-Saharan Africa, and the death rates being extremely high among young girls and women from rural settings or poor socioeconomic status, in regions affected by humanitarian crises, and areas with inequities in access to health care services, there is an immense need to improve the existing services.[1],[3],[4]

To respond to the alarming rates of maternal deaths during childbirth in Kenya, the program managers analyzed the data available through the health information system.[4] It was observed that in excess of 33% of pregnant women had not delivered at health care establishments due to distance or financial constraints, and hence were exposed to aseptic or sub-standard conditions during home deliveries.[4] Though, actions have been taken to extend insurance coverage to the pregnant females to cover their expenses, the strategy had many loopholes.[5] Thus, policy makers came to a decision to make all maternity-related services free in the entire nation in all government health care establishments which was widely accepted.[4] This was a practical example of assisting the stakeholders to take an informed decision based on the available data.[4] However, it has been very well realized that many gaps exist in the nation's health information system, and still a lot needs to be done in the field of data collection tools and to ensure that the system can obtain data for all the public health priorities of the nation.[1],[3],[4]

To conclude, ensuring prevention of the maternal deaths is very much achievable, and the availability of a comprehensive health information system can significantly assist the policy makers in achieving the set targets by enabling them to take evidence-based decisions.

Acknowledgment

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
World Health Organization Maternal mortality-Fact sheet N 348; 2015. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs348/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 July 5].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Pell C, Meñaca A, Were F, Afrah NA, Chatio S, Manda-Taylor L, et al. Factors affecting antenatal care attendance: results from qualitative studies in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. PLoS One 2013;8:e53747.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Ochako R, Gichuhi W. Pregnancy wantedness, frequency and timing of antenatal care visit among women of childbearing age in Kenya. Reprod Health 2016;13:51.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]    
4.
Kenya takes steps to save mothers' lives, showing why better data matters; 2016. Available from: http://who.int/features/2016/kenya-saving-lives-data/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 July 5].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Maina JM, Kithuka P, Tororei S. Perceptions and uptake of health insurance for maternal care in rural Kenya: a cross sectional study. Pan Afr Med J 2016;23:125.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.196752

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