An Assessment of Maternal Mortality Estimates from Demographic and Health Surveys
Thomas W. Pullum, Demographic and Health Surveys
One of the Millenium Development Goals (MDG5) is to reduce the maternal mortality ratio in all developing countries by 75% between 1990 and 2015. Progress toward this goal has been documented by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), using similar models to estimate levels and trends in virtually all countries. The Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) are the principal source of data for the WHO and IHME models. Approximately 114 DHS surveys have included the maternal mortality module, which provides data for the direct sisterhood method. DHS is currently undertaking an assessment of the quality of the data and the published estimates. This is the first such assessment since 1997, when only 14 surveys had included the module. The paper will present the results of this assessment and potential implications for the WHO and IHME models.