Implementing a facility-based maternal and perinatal health care surveillance system in Afghanistan

J Midwifery Womens Health. 2005 Jul-Aug;50(4):296-300. doi: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2005.02.013.


Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal and perinatal mortality rates in the world. Lack of a health information system presented obstacles to efforts to improve the quality of care and reduce mortality. To rapidly overcome this deficit in a large women's hospital, staff implemented a facility-based maternal and perinatal surveillance system known as "BABIES," which is specially designed for intervention and evaluation in low-resource settings. During a 12-month period, 15,509 deliveries resulted in 28 maternal deaths and a perinatal mortality rate of 56 per 1000 births. When stratified by birth weight and perinatal period of death, fetuses weighing at least 2500 g who died during the antepartum period contributed the most cases of perinatal death. This finding suggests that the greatest reduction in perinatal mortality would be realized by increasing access to high-quality antepartum care. Among fetuses weighing at least 2500 g, 93 deaths occurred during the intrapartum period. These deaths will continue to be monitored to ensure that the chosen interventions are improving intrapartum care for mothers and newborns. Because of its simplicity, flexibility, and ability to identify interventions, BABIES is a valuable tool that enables clinicians and program managers to prioritize resources.

MeSH terms

  • Afghanistan / epidemiology
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Maternity / organization & administration*
  • Hospitals, Maternity / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / mortality
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control
  • Program Development / methods*
  • Program Evaluation