Non-Traditional Approach to Measuring Maternal Mortality: Using Handheld Technology in Sampling at Services Sites in Markets (SSS-M)

Ouedraogo Moctar, IMMPACT Project (Centre Muraz)
Karen Witten, IMMPACT Project (University of Aberdeen)
Jacqueline Bell, University of Aberdeen
Wendy J. Graham, University of Aberdeen
Nicolas Meda, Centre Muraz
Sennen Hounton, IMMPACT Project (Centre Muraz)
Issiaka Sombie, IMMPACT Project (Centre Muraz)

The Millennium Development Goal 5 - reducing the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters by 2015, clearly demands improved monitoring of maternal deaths. This presents a significant challenge in developing countries, where limited resources make it difficult to mount regular household surveys with sample sizes large enough to reliable measure levels and trends in maternal mortality. Based essentially on the direct sisterhood method, the new approach described here makes use of natural meeting point - markets, together with the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) to collect data from women respondents more efficiently (quicker and cheaper) than a household survey. After a pilot study in the health district of Houndé (Southwest Burkina Faso) in October 2005, a full field trial of Sampling at Services Sites in Markets (SSS-M) was conducted. This took place in the health district of Ouargaye (East Burkina Faso) in June 2006 in order to validate this promising new approach to estimating maternal mortality at sub-national levels. The results show that the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the women interviewed in the market sites looks remarkably similar to those measured through a population census in the same area. This new approach is particularly suited for resource poor countries with limited routine information systems.

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Presented in Poster Session 1