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Stud Fam Plann. 1995 Mar-Apr;26(2):101-6.

The sisterhood method of estimating maternal mortality: the Matlab experience.

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  • 1Maternal and Child Health-Family Planning Extension Project (Rural), International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Dhaka.


This study reports the results of a test of validation of the sisterhood method of measuring the level of maternal mortality using data from a Demographic Surveillance System (DSS) operating since 1966 in Matlab, Bangladesh. The records of maternal deaths that occurred during 1976-90 in the Matlab DSS area were used. One of the deceased woman's surviving brothers or sisters, aged 15 or older and born to the same mother, was asked if the deceased sister had died of maternity-related causes. Of the 384 maternal deaths for which siblings were interviewed, 305 deaths were correctly reported, 16 deaths were underreported, and the remaining 63 were misreported as nonmaternal deaths. Information on maternity-related deaths obtained in a sisterhood survey conducted in the Matlab DSS area was compared with the information recorded in the DSS. Results suggest that in places similar to Matlab, the sisterhood method can be used to provide an indication of the level of maternal mortality if no other data exist, though the method will produce negative bias in maternal mortality estimates.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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