Capacity to monitor severe maternal morbidity in Australia

Wendy Pollock, Elizabeth Sullivan, Sioban Nelson, James King

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Maternal mortality has traditionally been the key element in the monitoring of maternal health and adequacy of obstetric services in Australia and around the world. In developed countries, the ability of maternal mortality to serve this purpose is reduced because of the rarity of maternal mortality, reflected in very low maternal mortality ratios. Internationally, there has been increasing interest in severe maternal morbidity as an indicator to monitor maternal health and maternity services. The aim of this paper is to critically examine the capacity to measure and monitor maternal morbidity in Australia. There is a paucity of reliable maternal morbidity data in Australia; Australia is lagging behind peer countries that are endeavouring to monitor severe maternal morbidity. Dedicated efforts and adequate resources are needed in order to monitor severe maternal morbidity in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Maternal health
  • Performance indicators
  • Severe maternal morbidity

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