Establishing a system for reviewing maternal deaths, using verbal autopsy technique in Udaipur district of Rajasthan (2007-08)

The District RCH Society of Udaipur in collaboration with ARTH undertook a study to establish a system for identification and review of maternal deaths. The Medical, Health and Family Welfare Department, Udaipur conducted verbal autopsies of maternal deaths in two blocks of the district. At the same time ARTH conducted verbal autopsies in two other blocks of the district using a “gold standard” method that picks up all maternal deaths in the study area during a given time period. The study was carried out during the period December 2006 to November 2007. The MAPEDI questionnaire (UNICEF’s questionnaire for Maternal Perinatal Death Inquiry) was used to conduct the verbal autopsies. These two study approaches were adopted in roughly equal populations across the four blocks — in the blocks covered by the health department, which relied on the civil registration system, 9 deaths were picked up, while 57 deaths were picked up in the blocks covered by ARTH, which relied on a range of key informants, e.g. ASHAs, ANMs, Anganwadi workers.